Fighting spirit can define Titans' season
Titans coach Neil Henry has urged his players to use Friday night's win over the Eels as the blueprint for what is possible after they ignored all the reasons they were given to lose to instead record one of the club's gutsiest ever victories.
Entering the game under-manned due to an injury crisis, trailing 12-0 after 15 minutes against the competition leaders and then losing a winger for the game after just 17 minutes, a brave Titans defeat would have earned widespread admiration.
But instead the 16 players left standing in various states of physical duress refused to accept any of the excuses at their disposal and went on to record a morale-boosting 26-14 victory.
William Zillman (calf), Konrad Hurrell, Ryan Simpkins and Ryan James (all concussion) all spent time off the field which meant that the fullback had to shift to the wing, a halfback filling in at hooker moved to fullback and a front-rower had to spend time at hooker.
Back-rower Joe Greenwood perhaps should have also spent time off the field to collect himself after copping a head knock but he steadfastly refused to leave the field despite the urgings of the Titans trainer.
The two precious competition points were owed more to courage than skill and execution and Henry hopes the lessons learned on Friday night hold them in good stead for the 23 weeks of the season still to come.
"You can have every reason to not win a game of football and you can turn it around and win," Henry said.
"And to win and not allow points late in the game, not allow another try to make the scoreline a bit closer, it's very satisfying that the team can hang onto that and be desperate in defence right to the last minute of the game.
"It's a great result and hopefully it gives us confidence. It certainly should, that we can play that style of football and we can overcome positional changes because you need that every week in this competition.
"We had the tenacity last year but we haven't had the injury crisis we've had. This group's a different group and we can use that as a stepping moving forward to say that this is what you can achieve if you knuckle down and get the job done.
"We take that into next week and we take it into the week after that as well."
In just his third NRL game Greenwood played the entire 80 minutes and played crucial roles in two of the Titans' four tries.
It was his quick play-the-ball that allowed Chris McQueen to dive over from dummy-half and get the Titans on the board in the 27th minute and with the game hanging in the balance it was Greenwood who tapped an Ash Taylor cross-field kick for Tyrone Roberts to regather and score.
It was midway through the second half that he copped a heavy knock yet refused to come from the field and says that it represents the fighting spirit within the club.
"But you don't want to come off, you want to stay on," Greenwood said.
"It's what we do as a job and you want to do everything you can for the team. I know my own body and yeah the trainer asked me to come off but I wouldn't.
"We've got a good fighting spirit and you can tell. From when I first came over and the first round, we didn't start too good but we're just gelling as a team.
"We're all good friends and it helps you out when you know the way they're going to play and that you can trust the man inside you that he's got your back. It gives you a lot of confidence.
"We're going in the right direction now and we need to keep on into the next round."