While keyboard warriors hurled abuse at Ash Taylor, few knew the extent of the personal struggles the Titans playmaker was going through.
Now Taylor has spoke up about his mental health issues and partner’s miscarriage in the hope it will inspire others to not be afraid to seek help.
“Most guys don’t like talking about their feelings; they let their actions speak louder than their words, but in this case I needed to use my words or the outcome could have been very different than what it is now,” he revealed to the Gold Coast Bulletin.
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“I needed to take the time away from it all to try and escape if you want to call it that.
“I wasn’t playing like I know I can play. I wasn’t the person I knew I could be. There was a lot of pressure and it all got to me at once.”
Much of the pressure stems from Taylor’s lofty price tag, having joined the Gold Coast as their marquee million dollar man when he signed a contract extension after the 2017 season worth a reported $3.2m over three years.
Ash Taylor faced harsh criticism for his performances in 2019. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
The 24-year old showed immense courage last year to admit he needed help and took time away from the game to get in the right headspace.
“I’ve seen a fair few family and friends commit suicide because they didn’t ask for help,” he said.
“There’s been too many in my community where I’m from.
Taylor’s partner, Montana Stenner, also revealed that the pair were also crippled by the uncertainty that came after she suffered two miscarriages.
“I was shattered,” she said.
“Obviously Ash still had to go to training and put on a happy face, go to games and put on a happy face.”
Stenner fell pregnant a third time last year and gave birth to Oscar, the pair’s first child after years of frustration.
Ash Taylor with his partner Montana and their baby Oscar. Picture: Jerad WilliamsSource:News Corp Australia
Taylor says being a father has transformed the way he approaches playing footy and gives him hope for the season ahead.
“It makes me a lot happier knowing that I have a little one to play for now,” he said.
“I have to set the pathway for him, set him up for long after I finish footy.”
Taylor looked a much happier figure running around at last week’s Nines tournament, finishing his two games from the pre-season competition with a try, two forced drop outs and a line break assist.
He is forever grateful for the support the Titans offered him during last year and wants to repay the faith by helping the club improve on last year’s last-placed finish.
Now he has extra motivation, even though his actions last year are enough evidence that Taylor is the mature and courageous role model his soon will always have.
“I’m doing what I love for footy, but I have a new love now and I want to be proud of both.
“It’s a whole new meaning now.”
Originally published asBaby tragedies shattered $3m NRL prodigy
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