Roosters v Titans: Five key points
In a scrappy game where errors truly marred proceedings, there were still a few interesting points to come out of the Sydney Roosters' 20-10 win over a depleted Titans team.
Roosters scrappy but get the job done
Considering star Roosters were making errors left, right and centre – Daniel Tupou five errors, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Aidan Guerra two each and 16 as a team – they still managed to get the job done.
Coach Trent Robinson didn't shy away from the reality of the performance but said they'll take the win on board heading into the second bye of the season.
"You always want to celebrate a win. It's hard to get the two points. You have to make sure you don't dwell overly on some of the areas so you have to celebrate the win and make sure you go and fix them up," Robinson said.
"Some guys need to get a pat on the back for winning the game then face the reality of some of the things which weren't good."
What happens when the Titans put a centre and a fullback in the halves?
Well, not very much. Named in the halves, James Roberts and Josh Hoffman relied on hooker Daniel Mortimer too much and otherwise looked lost. The Titans should have taken a leaf from the Eels' book from Saturday night when back-rower and former Titan Cody Nelson proved a solid make-shift hooker.
If Mortimer – who was also underwhelming – stuck to the halves for the entire game, surely Gold Coast coach Neil Henry could have utilised Matt Robinson at dummy-half especially with Chad Redman already in the team.
Instead he took two of his strike weapons out of the game thanks to unfamiliar positioning – which showed with the Gold Coast down to their fourth-choice hooker and without the services of other key players Aidan Sezer, Greg Bird and Will Zillman.
Blake Ferguson not Origin-ready, Dylan Napa a different story
Talk of Blake Ferguson playing in the State of Origin decider needs to stop now. Since the Roosters centre returned from a long-term foot injury he hasn't been playing as well as we know he can. Considering rookie centre Nene Macdonald doubled his impact opposite him, and fellow centres Solomone Kata and Euan Aitken kept him quiet over the past fortnight, the Ferguson option needs no further exploring at this point from Blues coach Laurie Daley.
The same cannot be said for his teammate Dylan Napa, who should be the man to replace Josh McGuire in the Maroons team. Named to start over Sam Moa, Napa produced 150 metres and 22 tackles and looked every bit the Origin player.
"[Napa] ran 50 metres straight past me so I think he's going alright, he's just fantastic," potential Queensland teammate and Titans captain Nate Myles said post-game.
"He went out there and wanted to take on the Queenslander [Myles] and earn some respect. He's a good player so let's hope he gets in," added Robinson.
Henry sees positives in young guns
Speaking of Nene Macdonald, coach Henry had nothing but positive words for the young centre, who faced off against his old club just two weeks after leaving.
Also crediting the likes of young back-rower Agnatius Paasi, who played the entire 80, and fellow mid-season recruit Chad Redman, Henry saw positives in the 10-point defeat.
"I thought Nene on the edge was quite strong. He had a good battle there with 'Fergo' and to score a try, he was a handful – there were some good signs for the future from our young guys," Henry said.
"Overall we battled away, in the second half we had some good scrambling defence at times, some good contact at times and we forced a few errors by being aggressive."
Central Coast puts hand up for more games
While there are two games to come there this year (Sea Eagles v Broncos in Round 21; Bulldogs v Titans in Round 23) the Central Coast put on an absolute show for this particular fixture.
With the future looking bright for further games beyond this year, 12,569 faithful fans turned out at Central Coast Stadium to see the Roosters prevail – with hundreds reportedly missing kick-off as long queues formed outside.
Considering the competition average (before Round 16) was 15,261 fans per game, and Sydney's T1 North Shore and Newcastle train lines weren't fully operational – meaning hundreds of fans would have decided against heading north – the final crowd wasn't bad at all.