Fit and mentally strong, Ash Taylor appears a player reborn ahead of the 2020 NRL season.
The Gold Coast halfback endured a difficult 2019, making just 10 appearances for the Titans either side of a leave of absence from the game to deal with personal issues.
Taylor admits looking after his mental health will be something he'll be managing long after his career ends but the 24-year-old believes thanks to the support of friends and family he's far better equipped to deal with the pressures of first-grade football.
"My mental game's a lot stronger than it was recently," Taylor said.
"I've been working on that obviously since I've taken that time off.
"I'm still seeing a specialist today. It's a long-term thing for me to get myself better. I'm not in it just for footy, I'm in it for post-footy as well.
"Really working hard to get my headspace right for the season and to keep that throughout the season as well."
The biggest change in Taylor's life has been the arrival of his son last year.
He says the responsibility and love he's experienced since becoming a father has been a key part of his rejuvenation.
"It is true what everyone says, when you do have a kid, it changes your life. I think that's done the right thing for me," he said.
Taylor admits he's made some personal sacrifices following discussions with new Titans coach Justin Holbrook.
Those seem to be paying off, with many of Taylor's teammates commenting on how fit he looks during pre-season training.
The arrival of Holbrook has brought new energy to the Titans, Taylor says, adding an extra element of excitement ahead of the 2020 season for the playmaker.
"Obviously I had some personal issues last year that I needed to deal with," Taylor said.
"I've sort of left them in the past now and I'm just really excited to get forward and get stuck into the season.
"Justin's brought some new faces in and a fresh new system. Really looking forward to the season that's ahead."
Australian Associated Press