Courage needed to arrest slide: Cartwright
Titans coach John Cartwright has challenged his players to use next week's bye to find the courage needed to rescue their flailing 2014 finals aspirations, and to see if they can't find a four-leaf clover in their travels.
The Titans' 19-18 loss to the Dragons on Sunday was a club record-equalling sixth loss in succession and puts them four points outside the top eight having led the competition after six rounds.
Recognising the importance of breaking the losing streak with a win over the Dragons in the lead-up, the Titans completed just two-thirds of their sets and were guilty of coming up with a host of poor last play options at critical times.
Currently sitting in 12th position on the ladder, the bye in Round 16 will go some way to stemming the fall down the table but Cartwright has urged his players to muster the necessary courage during their time off to turn around their fortunes.
"There's no magic. It's continuing to believe what worked for us early in the year, players believing in that process as well," Cartwright said after the side led 12-6 after 30 minutes but again struggled for potency in the second half. "There's no magic; it's hard work and it's courage too. You've got to turn up, be courageous, stick to a plan, hang onto the ball and things will turn around for you.
"There's not a lot different that we're doing to the games that we won, the tight ones, earlier in the year. It's a little bit of confidence and a little bit of luck has turned around. We were lucky in a few games early but that has turned around and it's going the other way at the moment."
Both Dragons tries in the first half came a set after the Titans conceded a penalty but Cartwright expressed his confusion as to where the match officials see infringements and where they allow play to continue.
"I just don't know what constitutes a penalty to be honest with you," he said. "There was an offside penalty given in the second half late in the tackle count and you guys watch from up high, you can see how many times players are offside.
"The one where Trent Merrin tried to offload the ball and basically ripped his arm out and the ball came free... As a defender I don't know what you're supposed to do, I really don't.
"I'm over worrying about things like that, hopefully they all turn around and come back to you at some point but they didn't to us tonight, it was 3-0 (penalties in favour of the Dragons) in the second half."
With 20 offloads compared to the Dragons' five the Titans continued to show a propensity to offload the ball at almost any opportunity but despite their poor completion rate, Cartwright said there will be no edict to tuck the ball under the arm when they travel to play the Rabbitohs in Round 17.
"You have to look at the consequences of them. We had 11 good ones [in the first half] and I'm not sure where the turnovers came but there were just some basic turnovers of the ball," he said.
"Fundamental errors, taking your eye off the ball in a try-scoring situation to at one stage. There might have been the odd loose offload but you can't take that away from our side. That's what creates a lot of energy for us and creates a lot of second-phase play in attack so you've got to find a balance there to know when to take the risk out of it and know when it's on."
Lock forward Ben Ridge was heavily concussed six minutes before half-time and failed to take any further part in the game but was cleared of any serious damage in the sheds after the game.