Titans can still go all the way: Close
They committed rugby league suicide by gifting Brisbane three tries in the biggest game in the club’s three-year history but the Titans insist they’re not done with just yet – and Gold Coast legend Chris Close agrees.<br><br>The Titans produced a remarkable second-half comeback to almost snatch victory from the hands of defeat on Saturday night before some woeful errors ended their resistance, with co-captains Luke Bailey and Scott Prince both throwing intercept passes for Brisbane tries.<br><br>But Close – who spoke with the Gold Coast players in the dressing rooms immediately after the loss – insists they still have what it takes to go all the way in 2009.<br><br>“I thought it was a courageous effort,” said Close, a member of the Gold Coast Seagulls side when they were first admitted to the competition in 1988. <br><br>“You don't fight back if the team doesn't believe in each other and believes in itself. <br><br>“It was one of the most courageous performances I have witnessed and it proved to me this team has what it takes to be a premiership contender.<br><br>“I saw a team that lost but I didn't see a beaten team. <br><br>“Sometimes you shine the brightest at the toughest times and I think this was an example of that for the Gold Coast.”<br><br>Close said that despite the loss, the Titans’ finals debut would go down as an important night for the club.<br><br>“People need to understand that they created history,” he said. “They are the first Titans team to play a semi-final. <br><br>“They could have been overawed and lost the plot and got flogged at 30-10 but they got back to two points and nearly stole the game.”<br><br>Close’s sentiments were echoed by the players, who refuse to concede that their title dream might be slipping following consecutive losses to Manly and now Brisbane.<br><br>The Gold Coast will face another stern examination next Friday when they face a lethal Parramatta that has found form at the right time of the season.<br><br>But Prince said the Titans would be better for the experience.<br><br>“I was very happy and excited with our younger guys that haven’t experienced semi-finals football in such a great atmosphere,” he said.<br><br>"We’re disappointed with the result but it was a great experience for the guys and we now know what’s required. <br><br>“It doesn’t get any bigger than a semi-final against the Broncos and we’ll be better for the run.<br><br>“We just have to get back on the horse.<br><br>“We’ll learn a lot from this – to come from behind and almost snatch victory will give us a lot of heart.”<br><br>The task now is to reverse a worrying form slump that, albeit only two games long, has certainly arrived at the wrong end of the year.<br><br>And they have to do so against a Parramatta side that is the hottest ticket in town following their stunning disposal of minor premiers St George Illawarra at WIN Jubilee Oval yesterday.<br><br>Momentum has historically played a huge role in determining who survives come September but Close said the Titans needn’t feel any pressure this Friday night.<br><br>“They’re not a beaten team by any means,” he said.<br><br>“I want them to know there are former Gold Coast people who are very proud of their exploits.”<br><br>The Titans are sweating on the fitness of five-eighth Mat Rogers who suffered a heavy concussion late in Saturday’s game and remains in extreme doubt against the Eels.<br><br>However, they will welcome back speedster William Zillman from a four-week suspension for biting.