Eels v Titans: Five key points
A woeful second half saw the Eels capitulate to their first home loss in nine months as an energetic and motivated Titans outfit kept their intent high for the full 80 minutes. Here are five of the key talking points from the Gold Coast's win.
Roberts hat-trick blows Eels away
WATCH: Eels v Titans highlights
WATCH: Roberts goes long range to complete his hat-trick
WATCH: Parramatta post-match press conference
WATCH: Gold Coast post-match press conference
James Roberts loves an intercept
Speedster James Roberts bagged three tries – the second hat-trick of his career, with the first coming against the Titans back in his Panthers days. A crucial long-range effort from a loose Nathan Peats pass was arguably the turning point of the match, just a fortnight after stealing a win from Cronulla with a similar effort. After the game he told reporters he "got a bit lucky there".
"I've just got to read the play I guess, just pushing up with the boys and trying to shut the play down," Roberts said.
His coach Neil Henry suggested it hadn't been a specific plan to target Parramatta's long passing game.
"He happened to be up in position, got a couple of intercepts there, he needs to be up to take those and he was able to create something for us as well," Henry said.
Eels need to work on their patience
Parramatta coach Brad Arthur said the Eels needed to learn patience after some very loose efforts handed the Titans a gilt-edged chance to snatch the two competition points.
The hosts at one point had completed just seven of 14 sets for the match and finished with just under 65 per cent completion and 47 per cent of possession. Two errors led directly to Titans tries while the match was still there for the taking.
"It's very disappointing," Arthur said. "We shot ourselves in the foot."
The coach said the errors led to an increased defensive workload which drained the team's energy when they had the football.
"We went in at half-time as probably false leaders, we were only completing at 59 per cent and had to do more tackles. It just takes its toll on us in the second half," he said.
"Yeah, we want to play some football, but some of the errors we made are simple fundamentals and we're putting ourselves under too much pressure.
"It's pass selection; you can't be passing to a person that's not in a better position than yourself. At times we've just got to be patient, take the tackle and build for it. We're in a hurry to get things done."
Titans baffled by reverse home ground advantage
Gold Coast coach Neil Henry was at a loss to explain why his side has continued a trend established in 2014 to perform better away from home than at Cbus Super Stadium. Already in 2015 they are 0-3 at home and 2-1 away.
However he stressed those home losses had all been narrow – including a one-point and a two-point defeats in Rounds 1 and 3 – with the team in position to win every home game so far.
"I don't know, I can't really pick it," he said.
"[In] our performances at home we've been in games, a one-point loss and a two-point loss. We had our opportunities against the Broncos [in Round 5], we had field position there last week so our effort at home's been tremendous for our three games.
"We were disappointed we went down to play Penrith and got blown away at Carrington Park but we've had two tough, good wins away and we'll take that.
"The boys are settled when they travel as well, they enjoy each others' company. We worked hard today."
Confusion over how far a penalty mark extends
During the match, Fox Sports Commentator Andrew Voss noted Titans five-eighth Aidan Sezer was regularly taking three or four steps off his mark when taking a penalty kick for touch. Often the steps were sideways towards touch rather than forwards but even this allows the kicker more of an angle to work with when going for distance.
The officials finally pulled him up on it late in the game but it does beg the question of how pedantic officials need to be. Pulling a kick back for a step or two either way seems overly pedantic, whereas a kicker regularly walking several metres off the mark hands his side an advantage.
It may be something for the whistle-blowers to watch when the Titans host the Panthers next week.
Tepai Moeroa is an asset but needs to be managed
It's very easy to forget that hard-hitting Eels back-rower Tepai Moeroa is still only 19 when you look at the way the giant forward batters more seasoned opponents on a weekly basis.
Moeroa has had an interrupted past few weeks, at one stage admitted to hospital with an infection, and is also managing an ongoing shoulder injury.
Brad Arthur surprised plenty of people by dropping the youngster to NSW Cup on game day and promoting Peni Terepo to the NRL side.
It was never an issue of form; rather it is a case of managing the youngster's workload, stopping him from burning out, and keeping him fit and hungry as he finds his feet at NRL level.
"Tep's had a disrupted preparation in the last four weeks in terms of being in hospital and he hasn't been well, he just needed to get some footy under his belt," Arthur said.
For his part, Moeroa – who could have theoretically played for the NYC side earlier on the day – laced up for the Wentworthville Magpies.
He put in a solid effort, alongside fellow young giant Pauli Pauli, who was back early from a knee injury expected to sideline him for at least another week or two, as the pair led Wenty off the foot of the VB NSW Cup ladder with their second win of the season. With less than a minute remaining and the match sewn up at 25-18, Moeroa took a hit-up, broke the line and carried three defenders downfield with him.
He'll be back in first grade soon enough – he looks pretty fit and hungry as it is.