Confidence creeping back for Titans
Early-season ladder leaders, the Gold Coast Titans, slumped to 13th place after six straight losses but an upset away win over the fourth-placed Rabbitohs on Monday night has confidence slowly returning for the injury-ravaged side.
Speaking after the game, Titans coach John Cartwright refused to blame the side's massive injury toll and the unavailability of his representative stars for their recent plight but lauded a "super effort" despite further adversity on Monday night.
He said the win was important for a lot of reasons, particularly their ladder position and overall confidence.
"When the players' confidence is down and you know what's in front of you in terms of winning games, how many games you've got to win [to make the finals]," he said.
"It was a super win but it was great just to see the confidence come back into the players."
He said he couldn't pinpoint why the wheels started to come off the side's 2014 season but he said with the last two of those losses coming by one point [against the Dragons in Round 15] and a single try [against the Storm in Round 14], "we probably weren't going as bad as what people thought – I thought we were starting to play some decent footy on the back of an enormous injury count."
He noted the side had both first-string halves missing for most of that losing run, with Aidan Sezer missing long-term with a pec injury and Albert Kelly battling a calf complaint and back row stalwart Ash Harrison retiring.
"We lost our two halves pretty much for the last six or seven weeks, we've had seven or eight different halves combinations, we've gone through the middle of the Origin period and it's been a really difficult period with Ashley Harrison retiring," he said.
"It goes without saying, we certainly know the amount of injuries we've had but that's no excuse. There were certain games over the last six or seven weeks we were in a position to win and we didn't so it was nice tonight to grind one out."