Ash Taylor may have retired from the playing field earlier this year thanks to ongoing hip injury issues, but the former golden child of the NRL has already found a new role in the game, winning the head coaching role at local Toowoomba side Newtown Lions.

Taylor became familiar with the club after travelling to games to support his sister Kiara.

It might seem like a cosy gig until you look at the stats, with the Lions A Grade men’s team going the entirety of the 2022 campaign without a win, losing some games by over 100 points.

Despite the enormity of the challenge and Taylor’s young age, club president Janet Suey told QRL media that he’s the right man for the job.

“When he moved back he started to come out and do the supportive big brother thing,” Suey said.

“Then he started helping out around the club. He’s been around for the latter half of the season, helping the boys with training.

“His presence has been really good for our morale given it’s been a tough season.

“When the coaching job came up, Ash threw his hat in the ring. We had a few really good coaches apply, but we decided Ash could take us where we thought the club needed to head.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 24: Ashley Taylor of the Titans kicks the ball in the warm up during the round 11 NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Gold Coast Titans at Lottoland on May 24, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

“He is what we see for the future. Given we’re only two years back in the competition, we’re in a rebuilding phase and we’re hoping Ash can help us.”

Suey has known Taylor for most of his life but has noticed the maturity he’s displayed since he called time on his career at the start of 2022.

“With his recent NRL experience, he’s very mature for a 27-year-old," Suey said.

“He probably though he had some more NRL years left in him. That’s disappointing for him. But to put his hand up and coach a team he knows isn’t going well – that’s a really good thing.”

Though results haven’t gone their way, Suey says the team still possesses an admirable commitment to the game that she hopes Taylor will be able to harness.

“They’ve been cricket scores, not rugby league scores,” Suey says of recent results.

“But every single player turns up every week, every training session and every game. They keep turning up, and for that I couldn’t be prouder of anyone who pulls on a Newtown jersey.”


  1. Excellent approach. He can learn and make mistakes completely out of the public eye. If – later on – he wants to go further as a coach, he will find the man-management aspect has been invaluable.

    Good luck, Mr Taylor.

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