The kicking game of Titans halfback Daniel Mortimer failed to enable his side to build pressure by earning repeat sets on the Parramatta tryline. Credit: Col Whelan. Copyright: NRL Photos
He may have single-handedly put paid to the Titans' prospects of playing semi-final football in 2014 but Gold Coast coach John Cartwright has lauded the two-try display of Eels superstar Jarryd Hayne in Parramatta's 24-18 win on Saturday evening
The Titans' record at home fell to a dismal 2-8 this season despite Cartwright taking the team into camp on Friday night, their best-laid plans brought undone by a Hayne performance that yielded two tries, three line breaks and 229 running metres.
"It wasn't a lack of effort that cost us the game; it was the brilliance of Jarryd Hayne that cost us the game," Cartwright lamented.
"They did a good job on him up until that point and then two or three bits of brilliance and he took the game away from us.
"He's just that good. There are few players in the game that can do that and he's one of them. We were aware of it and that's what makes them even better.
"They did a great job on him bar three or four occasions and he was good enough to take advantage of it and took the win away from us.
"There was a lot of effort there, the difference in the game was Jarryd Hayne.
While reaffirming their commitment to continue to fight for a finals spot until it becomes a mathematical impossibility, Cartwright conceded their poor kicking game at present is putting greater pressure on their defence.
Although a Daniel Mortimer kick led directly to a try for Anthony Don that gave the Titans a 12-6 advantage 10 minutes into the second half, he and makeshift five-eighth Brad Takairangi were unable to earn their side a repeat set for the entire 80 minutes having only produced one the week before against the Knights.
First-choice No.6 Aidan Sezer is awaiting medical clearance before he is able to return from a pectoral injury but the desperate nature of the situation ahead of next Saturday's clash with the Cowboys may force Cartwright to at least ask the question.
"It's a medical decision. When he's medically right... We're missing his kicking game, big time, Cartwright admitted. "We're getting up into good positions to kick the ball and we're not making them work hard enough on the back of our kicking game.
"The first half, we got not a lot of help with penalties and when a side's playing well – and they were completing pretty high – you've got to rely on your short kicking game or to get some penalties to get some decent ball so we didn't get a lot of decent ball and the decent ball we did get we come up with points.
"When a bit of fatigue set in, that's when you notice it. Guys that aren't used to playing in those positions, when the fatigue sets in the football goes a little bit out the window and they start to play a little bit one-out. It was our doing, we turned over too many balls in a short period of time and they made us pay.
"Obviously we're going to have to turn things around in terms of tight games and winning games but no one's giving up, I can guarantee you that."