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Titans capture spirit of success

Titans capture spirit of success
The Titans are proving after six weeks that where there's a will, there's a way. Copyright: Col Whelan/NRL Photos Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos
It's one of sport's great intangibles.

Neither players nor coaches know what to call it or where it comes from.

It can't be coached or shown on video and it doesn't come simply by flogging them on the training paddock.

You won't find it in any rugby league coaching manual but the Titans have stumbled upon the secret formula to success and are revelling in the fortunes it is providing.

Their miraculous four-point win over the Broncos in front of more than 20,000 fans on Friday night came by virtue of two fortuitous bounces of the Steeden but when a team has found the ability to will victories where they would ordinarily not exist, funny things tend to happen.

The first team in 60 years to lead the competition despite a negative for-and-against believes they will win, no matter how dire the situation, even if coach John Cartwright shies away from trying to define exactly what the magic ingredient is.

"It's hard to say. It's one of those things where you've got to be out on the field to experience it," Cartwright said.

"You look at statistics and they don't tell the true story. I read many times this week where our statistics said that we were false leaders but there's something out there that the players are working very hard at and it just doesn't show up in statistics."

The Titans lost five games by six points or less in 2013 as they finished one win outside of finals footy yet in 2014 they have already recorded wins of six, four, two and one point to be sitting pretty four points clear at the top of the competition table.

A win next Monday night against the Panthers in Penrith would equal the club's best ever start to a season back in 2008 but co-captain Nate Myles knows that if the Titans get away from what has brought them to this point, they can lose that indefinable quality just as quickly as they found it.

"I don't know what name or category it comes under but everyone's just doing their little bit at training and it's starting to show," Myles said.

"I think everyone's just stepped up a little bit with regards to how they are at training and away from football as well and that's starting to rub off.

"I have no doubt that if we drop away in how we are at training and lose that little edge of professionalism I'm sure it will show on the field so we need to keep working hard and trying to improve.

"For the boys, I think it's fantastic that they're starting to see some rewards – even though we're not playing the type of football that we're capable of – they're starting to see the results by the wins and staying in the contest.

"I'm sure the coaches will be the first to remind them to stay on track and we go from there."

Iron man Luke Douglas's 200th game in succession was one of the most unusual of his career and he said that a pre-season focus on defence and a tight-knit playing group has enabled the Titans to turn heartbreak into triumph.

"You look at the two top teams from all the years gone by and they pride themselves on defence and having the best defence in the comp and maybe it's something that's starting to stick, to win games with defence," Douglas said. "It's something we talked about in the off-season and hopefully it's starting to click.

"Everyone's working hard, if we do miss one there's someone there to get on them and make that next one. We're all working for each other and there's pretty good depth so we're all pushing hard to make sure that we keep our spot. We're not giving up, we're winning ugly and we'll keep winning ugly.

"We've got a pretty good group, we all hang out together and there's a real good camaraderie there so that's another good point for us.

"We're all turning up for each other, there is belief and we've got trust in the guy next to us."
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