James equals record in Titans loss
They may have missed another chance to qualify for the finals on Saturday night, but Gold Coast star Ryan James didn't miss his.
The star bookend claimed a slice of history in their 32-16 defeat to North Queensland, crossing for his 11th try of the season to equal former St George bookend Jack Holland and former Rabbitoh Harry Eden as the most prolific try-scoring front-rowers in a single season.
Not since Eden in 1975 had Holland's record (set in 1950) been matched.
"He just keeps calling for the ball, doesn't he," coach Neil Henry joked after the game.
"He's been good, nice and tight [around the try line]. He doesn't have to run too far for his tries, he's just barging over.
"You saw tonight it was a nicely executed little inside ball and he's a big man and hard to stop on momentum."
The entire Titans season is probably encapsulated by James' record. Tipped to be among the league's worst, they have punched above their weight on the back of effort and inspiring, lead-by-example play from the likes of James and rookie Ash Taylor.
While he has been the focus of much controversy lately, James is the heart and soul of the Gold Coast forward pack, with a likely captaincy coup on the horizon.
"He's having a good year and his workrate is great for a big fella too, he makes a lot of tackles out there," coach Neil Henry said after the game.
"He's certainly developing and has had his most consistent season since he's been in first grade, so he certainly has a bright future as part of our forward pack.
"He's got a good motor, he trains hard. He's always had that."
Saturday's result means that the Titans' finals fate is out of their hands, relying on a Canberra win over Wests Tigers on the final day of regular season competition.
Provided the Raiders get the job done, the Titans and Broncos will face off next week at Suncorp Stadium, and it will mark the first time that all three Queensland teams have featured in the same finals series.
"Sitting back, I think we deserve to play finals footy, but we had the opportunity to really push that out the last couple weeks," Henry said.
"We've had opportunities. I think the fact that we've had some tight games you could say that if we'd had another [competition point] we're in.
"Our for-and-against has reflected a pretty good season, and defensively we've been able to hang in and not give blowout scores.
"It would be great to travel up to Suncorp Stadium. Hopefully that happens and surely it would be a great, packed house there."