Titans' pay penalty for lack of possession
Titans coach John Cartwright has questioned the flood of penalties against his side in the second half of their 24-16 loss to the Warriors, even telling his players at half-time to expect the penalty count to even out.
The Titans took a 16-14 lead into the break on the back of 57 per cent of possession and a 6-2 penalty count but the penalty count read 6-all after just 10 minutes of the second half with the Warriors earning four in quick succession.
It set up a second half where the Warriors had 25 sets compared to the Titans' 13, won the penalty count 5-2 and finished the match with 54 per cent of total possession and the two valuable competition points.
"The second half, I don't think I've ever seen a discrepancy like that, with one side getting the ball and the other side getting the ball," Cartwright said.
"At one stage with time still on the clock we'd had 10 sets and they'd had 24 and it's a tough game to win when you get those kinds of things thrown at you.
"The limited number of opportunities we had we weren't smart enough and it's as simple as that.
"In some ways I did feel for the players in the second half because it did seem to be officiated a lot different to the first half but you've got to adapt to that and you've got to be smart when you get the ball.
"We even spoke about it at half-time, to be ready for possession to switch and it happened. They had a lot of possession and they played really smart.
"When the penalties are in the ruck against you continually they're generally pretty even and they certainly weren't in the second half."
With co-captains Nate Myles and Greg Bird both absent and first-choice halves Aidan Sezer and Albert Kelly both out injured, the Titans played some enterprising football in the first half and then defended their line with honour in the second.
It wasn't until the 62nd minute and after three sets on the Titans' line that the Warriors were able to strike the killer blow which stand-in captain William Zillman conceded was inevitable given the flow of possession.
"For myself personally, I really felt for all the boys," Zillman said. "We were just defending our line the whole time and with a side like the Warriors you can't do that for too long before they come up with points and that's what happened in the second half."
A career-first hat-trick to Dave Taylor highlighted a see-sawing encounter in the opening 40 minutes with five-eighth Maurice Blair giving the 'Coal Train' the necessary time and space to cause maximum carnage.
After pouncing on a Sam Tomkins fumble in the 18th minute, Taylor carried three Warriors defenders over the line and then on the stroke of half-time went on a rampaging run that ended with an acrobatic planting of the ball one-handed over his head and over the tryline.
But while he was full of praise for his opening onslaught, Cartwright conceded that Taylor had fallen into some bad habits in the second half.
"He's been building to a game like that all year. He's threatened a lot and had some really good patches of play and his first 40 minutes... you don't get much better than that," Cartwright said.
"In the second half there, when he starts to pre-offload the ball and preconceive things, that's when he loses his impact with the ball.
"His strength is running hard and attracting numbers to him and the rest of the side trying to get him some space and he becomes very dangerous."
Gold Coast hooker Beau Falloon was taken from the field with a lower back injury in the 15th minute while Brad Takairangi was a late withdrawal after suffering a quad strain during the Titans' final training session on Friday.
The Titans now have 13 days until their next game, a Saturday evening clash with the Panthers in Round 13 when Myles and Bird will both be available.