Titans v Warriors: Five Key Points
A complete Warriors performance, encouraging signs for Titans new recruits, mini Manu makes his mark and Henry hits back at recruitment speculation in the wake of the Warriors 36-14 win on Saturday night.
Completing Warriors a match for any team
As the Titans discovered, a Warriors team that completes 13 from 13 sets to start a half of football is almost impossible to repel. Tied with the Titans prior to the game for the worst completion rates in the competition, the Warriors made just a single error in the second half as they completed 18 of 20 sets and piled on five tries to run out convincing 36-14 victors.
"It just felt like we had no ball and we were coming out of our own end," said Titans prop Luke Douglas. "They gave us a lesson in getting repeat sets and they really revved up as we were trying to get out. It was a real uphill battle and they were catching our kicks on the 40 and 50 and going straight into attacking sets so it makes it pretty tough."
In the wake of their thumping by the Rabbitohs in Round 13 Warriors coach Andrew McFadden said that improving their completion rate had become an area of intense focus.
"We put a lot of focus on that over the last few weeks," said McFadden. "We have generally been in most games and what has brought us undone has been our own errors. Securing the ball has been a real focus because when we hold onto the ball we get the results like we did tonight."
Warriors find their home away from home
With a sea of black jerseys dominating the stands at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday night, the Warriors harnessed the power of south-east Queensland's Kiwi ex-pat population to win a fifth straight game on the Gold Coast.
The booing of Titans five-eighth Aidan Sezer as he lined up a sideline conversion in the first half was clearly audible and gave the visitors a significant energy boost.
"It's pretty special the support we get, it's probably the only home game the Titans have where they get booed when they run out at the start of the game," said Warriors captain Simon Mannering. "There's that much support for us and we love coming up here to play and to get a result like that tonight is obviously great for the turn-out we get."
Added superstar half Shaun Johnson: "We love coming over here and the fact that you've got the crowd booing when Aidan Sezer's taking a shot at goal is pretty impressive. I was running back thinking, This is pretty cool. I don't think a lot of other teams would get to experience that, going away from home and getting that sort of support so really lucky."
Titans new boys show plenty of promise
Rushed in to help ease the Titans' injury crisis, new recruits Nene Macdonald and Chad Redman showed enough against the Warriors to indicate they will be very handy additions in the coming weeks and beyond. Macdonald only arrived on the Gold Coast on Tuesday night from the Roosters with former Knight Redman having his first day at the club on Wednesday. Macdonald played his first NRL game in the centres in his debut for the club and with his second touch showed plenty of speed and power to lay on the first try for Josh Hoffman. Redman was sharp in his stint at dummy-half and with the injury to Aidan Sezer is set to play even more minutes next week against the Roosters.
"The boys were still struggling with first names and getting the calls on our plays but he showed real promise," Douglas said of his new teammates. "Just the size of him (Macdonald), he's a centre/winger and he's bigger than me. He's a big boy and showed some real good touches so definitely some good signs from the two new boys. [Redman] got out of there and did one good kick out of dummy-half and will get better as the weeks go on. A couple of times with different plays come unstuck but it's all going to improve."
Ken Maumalo is a massive mini 'Beast'
He is in doubt for next week's clash with the Raiders after rolling his ankle midway through the second half but in just his fourth first grade game Ken Maumalo showed there will be life after Manu Vatuvei with another eye-catching performance. The 20-year-old powerhouse brought the crowd to their feet as he pushed off the back fence to charge into the Titans defence and regularly provided strong starts to sets for his team.
"He's a Manu-type too I suppose," was McFadden's post-match appraisal. "Certainly at the start of the year I wasn't anticipating him playing first grade and just the way he's developed is a real credit to him. He's obviously got a lot of upside with how powerful and big he is but it's the other parts of his game which has got him into first grade."
Henry hits back at Maloney speculation
In the post-DCE backflip period the Titans have been linked with every half coming off contract in the NRL but coach Neil Henry took the post-game press conference to vehemently refute any suggestion the club had been in the market for Roosters five-eighth James Maloney. In the wake of Maloney's decision to join the Sharks in 2016 a media report on Saturday suggested that he had rejected a larger offer from the Titans to link with Cronulla, a claim Henry denied in the strongest possible manner.
"In today's papers there were a couple of stories about Jimmy Maloney and an offer from this club that he's knocked back and he's gone to play at Cronulla," Henry said unprompted. "Categorically there has been no offer. There was no talk with his management about him coming here whatsoever so to actually put that in there is not right. I'm a little bit upset that we get media jumping to conclusions about our salary cap position because Daly Cherry-Evans didn't come here and we weren't in the market for him (Maloney) and nor was he part of our future planning. I'll make that nice and clear that that's not true."