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Nines can be Taylor’s launching pad

It's the tournament that sparked the NRL careers of Semi Radradra and Connor Watson.

Now it's the Gold Coast Titans' million-dollar man Ash Taylor's chance.

The NRL Nines will act as the launch pad for Taylor to reignite his first grade career after needing to take time out for "personal reasons" in 2019.

Once tipped by experts to develop into one of the best players in the game, Taylor's career has flatlined with fears last year that he may never play NRL again.

But in an indication of how willing the 24-year-old is to make-up for lost time, Taylor has been declared a certain starter by the Titans for the inaugural Perth Nines on February 14-15.

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Ash Taylor is at a career crossroads. Photo: Jerad Williams
Ash Taylor is at a career crossroads. Photo: Jerad Williams

 

 

The Sunday Telegraph has obtained a first look at which players all 16 NRL clubs will be sending to Western Australia for the return of the nine-a-side try-fest.

It will be every footy fan's first taste of NRL for the new season.

The NRL Nines are back after a three-year hiatus, with bragging rights and $1 million in prizemoney up for grabs.

In 2014, little-known Radradra was the leading tryscorer of the NRL Auckland Nines for Parramatta before then being named Dally M winger of the year.

Watson was named the 2017 Nines player of the tournament - leading Roosters coach Trent Robinson to declare the utility would play a key role the next season.

And already there's a sense of which clubs are taking this year's version seriously.

 

 

Cameron Munster will be on deck for the Storm. Photo: AAP Image/Michael Dodge
Cameron Munster will be on deck for the Storm. Photo: AAP Image/Michael Dodge

 

The NRL have been notified by Melbourne that Test star Cameron Munster will feature.

Additionally, Cronulla's Shaun Johnson, the Broncos Anthony Milford, the Eels Mitch Moses, Panthers wrecking ball Viliame Kikau and the Tigers Moses Mbye are also confirmed starters.

However, there will be some notable omissions, with North Queensland set to hold back Valentine Holmes after a year out of rugby league.

Josh Addo-Carr and Kalyn Ponga are set to skip the Nines with a focus on the NRL All Stars tournament set for the next weekend.

The Rabbitohs' high-profile recruit Latrell Mitchell is also set to watch the Nines from afar while, interestingly, Roosters assistant coach Matt King will be in charge of the premiers with Trent Robinson opting to focus on the club's World Club Challenge tilt in the UK on February 23.

 

 

The Sharks could do with a strong start from Shaun Johnson. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
The Sharks could do with a strong start from Shaun Johnson. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

 

There is a strong sense within clubland that a promising Nines performance will set their side up for a strong 2020 season.

What Taylor shows at the Nines will be important for a Titans side that many believe will struggle in 2020.

The Perth Nines will be held at the 20,000-seat HBF Park, with the NRL confident of strong ticket sales in the countdown to the tournament.

 

 

Will this be Anthony Milford’s time to shine? Photo: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt
Will this be Anthony Milford’s time to shine? Photo: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt

 

NINES' FIRST LOOK

Tigers: Moses Mbye

Titans: Ash Taylor 

Knights: Kurt Mann

Melbourne: Cameron Munster

Raiders: Elliott Whitehead

Dragons: Ben Hunt

Panthers: Viliame Kikau

Sharks: Shaun Johnson

Broncos: Anthony Milford

Sea Eagles: Reuben Garrick

Cowboys: Coen Hess

Rabbitohs: Adam Reynolds

Bulldogs: Josh Jackson

Roosters: Nick Davis



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