Is this the stat which could derail the Titans?

The Gold Coast Titans need to find a way to muscle up when defending their own line or else face a quick exit from this season’s final series, should they even get that far.<br><br>Exclusive statistics provided to NRL.com show the Gold Coast side is running a lowly 13th for goal-line defence – a worrying trend they’ll need to rectify in the coming weeks. <br><br>With captain Scott Prince out for some time with a hamstring complaint, the revelation about the Titans’ goal-line defence gives opposing teams plenty of confidence.<br><br>Defending one’s line is tough. There is no margin for error – and nowhere to hide. The opposition is starting closer than the usual 10 metres, forcing sides to get up off your line; but if players don’t advance together, they end up leaving a gap to be exploited. <br><br>Goal-line tackling can be among the toughest techniques to perfect in rugby league – but get it right and sides are usually on the path to success. <br><br>The Titans are leaking an average two tries per match from within 10 metres of their line, which points towards an inability to get tough when their backs are against their try line. <br><br>Only the Sharks (2.15 tries a game) and the Knights (2.21) have worse figures, while the Cowboys also conceded two tries a match. <br><br>“It is the easiest place to score from and one of the hardest to defend and we know we’re not up there with the best sides, which is a concern,” Titans coach John Cartwright says.<br><br>“We have improved over the last few weeks and some weeks we have had players out of position which doesn’t help, but we are working on it that’s for sure.”<br><br>Cartwright assures fans his side isn’t soft in the middle; in fact, he says it’s more to do with scrambling to the edges where his side needs improvement. <br><br>“You are always short of numbers when defending your try line because you have to compress the middle or they will run straight through you,” he explains to NRL.com.<br><br>“The whole idea is not let them run through us and then close them down so they can’t promote the football.<br><br>“If you can’t close them down you need to be urgent enough to stop them as they shift the ball, and this is where it has been a weakness of ours at times.”<br><br>It comes as no surprise to see the table-topping Dragons boast the best goal-line defence stats with a paltry 0.86 tries a game coming from inside 10 metres. The Wests Tigers have also muscled up close to their line with just 1.08 tries against, with the Storm third with 1.29 tries a game. <br><br>Perhaps the other big surprise is the Bulldogs, who rank fourth with just 1.38 tries conceded a match from close – despite the fact they have won just three games all year and sit in 14th spot.<br>&nbsp;<br>It appears they are letting sides score before they even get close!<br><br>On the flip side we find the Panthers, sitting pretty in second place, are the NRL’s most prolific side at scoring from close range. <br><br>Penrith puts on 2.38 tries every match from within 10 metres of the line, making them deadly when in good field position. <br><br>The Rabbitohs also average more than two tries a match from close (2.07), thanks mainly to the craftiness of hooker Issac Luke. <br><br>In another worrying trend for the Eels (as if they didn’t have enough already after yet another loss on Monday night) it emerges they are the least deadly from close. They are seemingly struggling to come up with ways to crack defences with little space to do so, scoring just 1.15 tries a match from within the 10-metre mark. <br><br>The Sharks (1.23), Raiders (1.38) and Roosters (1.38) are also struggling in this regard. <br><b><br>Tries Conceded From Close range</b><br><br>1. Dragons: 0.86<br>2. Wests Tigers: 1.08<br>3. Storm: 1.29<br>4. Bulldogs: 1.38<br>5. Panthers: 1.46<br>6. Sea Eagles: 1.5<br>7. Raiders: 1.54<br>8. Broncos: 1.57<br>9. Eels: 1.69<br>10. Rabbitohs: 1.79<br>11. Roosters: 1.85<br>11. Warriors: 1.85<br>13. Titans: 2<br>13. Cowboys: 2<br>15. Sharks: 2.15<br>16. Knights: 2.21<br><br>* per game<br><br><b>Tries Scored From Close Range</b><br><br>1. Panthers: 2.38<br>2. Rabbitohs: 2.07<br>3. Broncos: 1.93<br>4. Sea Eagles: 1.86<br>5. Dragons: 1.79<br>6. Bulldogs: 1.77<br>7. Warriors: 1.62<br>8. Titans: 1.57<br>8. Knights: 1.57<br>10. Wests Tigers: 1.54<br>11. Storm: 1.5<br>12. Cowboys: 1.43<br>13. Raiders: 1.38<br>13. Roosters: 1.38<br>15. Sharks: 1.23<br>16. Eels: 1.15<br><br>* per game