Titans search for positives in horror film
It's the dreaded aftermath of a heavy defeat but Titans captain Nathan Friend believes that the video review of their 38-0 loss to the Storm on Sunday will set them on the right path to breaking their current five-game losing streak.
Denying that the character of the team had been brought into question by the lop-sided scoreline after four narrow defeats previously, Friend said that there were some positives among the hard truths after an extended video session on Tuesday.
Pointing to the fact that the score read 4-0 the way of Melbourne through 25 minutes and a first half completion rate for the Titans that only just crept above 60 per cent, Friend has faith that his team can recapture their good early season form when they meet the Roosters in Round 10.
"Actually a lot of positives today. Every week people put our hands up but I think we got a lot out of today and moving forward it will work wonders," Friend said of the video review.
"No one likes watching yourself lose and lose in the way we did on the weekend. The effort was there, we had patches of that game where we dominated but unfortunately we coughed up ball in our area.
"Our back-end of sets have got to improve, that was one of our work-ons and obviously our edge defence and defence as a team as a whole on our tryline needs to be worked on."
The Titans did start positively against the Storm but some missed opportunities and a try to Melbourne winger Cheyse Blair against the run of play put a dent in the Titans' confidence from which they couldn't recover.
Five-eighth Tyrone Roberts conceded that the search for a way out of their current rut is putting unnecessary pressure on their attack and relieving pressure on the opposition at crucial times in the game.
"After that first try we went into our shell," Roberts said. "We put our heads down when we should have just lifted.
"They're some of the things we talked about today and we've just got to put in at training and work hard on the little things.
"We're beating ourselves at the moment. The last couple of weeks we were into the game but we just can't execute.
"In the game now we're putting too much pressure on ourselves. All our forwards are tackling set after set and it's taking a toll.
"We need to complete and execute to put the pressure on the other team other than ourselves."
The reuniting of Roberts and Ashley Taylor in the halves against Melbourne represented the fifth week in a row where the Titans had fielded a different halves combination to the week prior.
With Kane Elgey sidelined for the season the first-choice combination of Roberts and Taylor have played only six games together and Roberts admitted that it is having an effect on the players around them.
"We know our role but we've got to work well with the other players," Roberts said.
"We've been changing around a fair bit and the other players around us so we've just got to get back to our normal combinations and work on them at training."
Friend agrees that while the likes of the Cowboys and Sharks have got through nine rounds using only 19 players, regular changes among the 23 players to have taken to the field for the Titans has made continuity, particularly in defence, hard to establish.
"The teams that have held their 17 week in and week out, nothing's better than match performance and getting your combos working," he said. "Obviously it throws you out a little bit but we can't use that as an excuse.
"Over the eight weeks there have been a lot of placements in positions. We try to work to our standards and if that doesn't happen you can be on the chopping block unfortunately."