Dan Walsh, NRL.com
The end of the season cannot come soon enough for the Titans after interim coach Neil Henry declared their performance in their 34-6 loss to St. George Illawarra was 'not up to first grade standard'.
The Titans were woeful across the board in falling to their fifth-straight loss, completing at just 50 per cent during the first half and missing a whopping 45 tackles in the 28-point rout.
The Gold Coast forward pack suffered a double blow in the 48 hours leading into the fixture, with co-captain and Origin workhorse Nate Myles (shoulder) ruled out for the season, while Luke Douglas's record of 215 straight NRL appearances was bought to an unceremonious end by the ASADA suspension meted out on Friday.
Henry refused to use the absence of key personnel, which also included suspended halfback Albert Kelly, David Mead, Dave Taylor as an excuse for the six-tries-to-one thumping.
"I said to the boys after 'that's just not a first grade performance,' regardless of who's on the park," Henry said.
"We know we're a bit depleted but we didn't match any intensity early and paid the price, which is disappointing."
After a promising start last week in his first game as interim Titans coach, when his side pushed premiership heavyweights Manly to the death in a 15-12 loss, Henry was bitterly disappointed with the Gold Coast's showing as key players Luke Bailey, skipper Greg Bird and Daniel Mortimer all celebrated personal milestones.
"We lacked real intensity in the game," Henry said.
"They're playing for their season and a chance to be in the eight and we're gone and we're playing like a side with two games to go and it's over, which is disappointing.
“We had a couple of milestones to celebrate today. Bailey’s 150th for the club, Bird's 200th NRL appearance and Daniel Mortimer's 100th game all fell on the same game.
"We were off the pace today. We didn't have the right mentality to get out there and slog it out for whatever reason.
"A few unforced errors, we just turned the ball over too much. We were tanking early in the forwards with possession going heavily their way and the second half started the same way. We didn't get out of our half or the first 15 minutes and it took its toll."
Bird admitted the loss of Myles and Douglas was keenly felt as the Dragons dominated the middle third, and was similarly downcast in his assessment of his side’s listless performance.
"It was disappointing not to have [Douglas] in the squad," Bird said.
"[He] and ‘Mylesy’ have probably been the cornerstone of our pack in the middle.
"I think you could definitely see the difference in the middle without them... but you can turn up in games and get beaten and accept it, but to play as poorly as we did out there today... we were pretty average all over the park today."
The Titans will next shape up to the Warriors as they make a trip across the ditch next Sunday, and both Mead and Taylor are considered possibilities of returning for that clash.