Inspiration behind Douglas drought-breaker
A ruck move employed by South Sydney in a trial game on the Gold Coast in February was the inspiration behind the Titans' opening try on Monday night that broke a two year try-scoring drought for prop Luke Douglas.
Not known for his ability to cross the stripe – Douglas was averaging a try every 21 games prior to Monday night's 30-10 win over Manly and had never previously scored against the Sea Eagles – the veteran front-rower was the beneficiary of a Sea Eagles defensive flaw spotted by front row partner Ryan James.
Having been exposed by the Rabbitohs themselves in the pre-season, Douglas said that the play involving hooker Nathan Peats playing left to James who then passed back across the ruck to Douglas who pushed past Manly hooker Matt Parcell to score right of the posts was one that they had been rehearsing all season.
"Souths did it to us in a trial and we thought it was all right so we practised it a little bit at training," Douglas told NRL.com.
"'Dark' (James) just saw that they were a bit lazy back on the inside and tipped me off.
"I've played 10 years now and I'm pretty sure that's my 13th try so just over one a season, that's about the quota.
"That's my one for the season."
The try to Douglas – his first since Round 13, 2014 – sparked a three-try blitz from the Titans that saw them race away to a 16-0 lead inside the opening 20 minutes of the game but it wasn't until the final 10 minutes that they put a depleted Sea Eagles team away.
The win elevated the Titans back into the top eight through 15 rounds but they face a much sterner test of their finals credentials on Sunday against the Raiders.
Sitting one point ahead of the Titans in seventh position Canberra boasts a record of just two wins from eight previous visits to Cbus Super Stadium but are coming off a bye having won three of their past four games.
Douglas conceded that the Titans didn't finish off Manly in the manner that they should have and that the Raiders will be a much tougher proposition on Sunday.
"We're not getting ahead of ourselves," said Douglas of regaining a place in the top eight.
"We were a bit scratchy in parts and they were a pretty underdone side and had a fair few guys out and a couple of times we let them back into the game.
"There were a few errors we need to get rid of and really try to put teams to the sword.
"We had an opportunity there and while we're building there's still plenty of improvement.
"Canberra are a quality outfit and all their big guys are all pushing for positions.
"[Paul] Vaughan missed out the other week and I think he's a quality player, [Shaun] Fensom missed out one week and he's a beauty so there's plenty of competition there and it's going to be a tough one.
"There is a lot of experience there in parts but there's a lot of guys who haven't played a lot of footy so it's about having that consistency and taking it to the next level.
"It's a matter of getting those young boys buzzing and taking that next step up and we need to do that against Canberra."