Titans address a season slipping away
The Gold Coast Titans have wasted no time in attempting to arrest a season that is quickly slipping through their fingers with senior players and coach Neil Henry addressing the playing group in the wake of their Canberra capitulation on Saturday night.
Truth be told, when Chris McQueen and Kevin Proctor were shock omissions from a team already missing the lion's share of their salary cap to injury, few expected the Titans to stop a rampant Raiders team but the manner of their surrender should be their greatest concern.
Where there were signs of the committed group that could very easily have had a far more flattering record than the 1-4 they carried into the Canberra clash for the most part the Titans played like a team resigned to their fate.
There were half-hearted attempts at tackle, atrocious handling errors, a very average kicking game and poor decision making, yet a minute into the second half they trailed the Raiders by 10 points and were finally mounting pressure.
But it was fleeting and the Raiders scored a further three tries in the space of 20 minutes to put the 42-16 result to bed and leave Gold Coast coach Neil Henry questioning his side's commitment for the first time this season.
"Tonight we probably saw the first time that we weren't really in it physically. They're a big side, we know that, but we still weren't defending well individually and we can't hide from that," Henry conceded.
"We just weren't up to tackling with the intent that was required to put some pressure on our opposition.
"Some of our defence was pretty ordinary. It wasn't committed enough, it was arms in tackles and not bodies in tackles and they rolled.
"We didn't do it tonight and the boys have discussed that in the shed after the game.
"They were honest about it. It's not to the standard that we're about. We make no excuses for that."
The next fortnight could sound the death knell to the Titans' finals chances if they can't somehow find a way to extract a win away to either the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium next Friday or the Sharks at Southern Cross Group Stadium the following week.
Henry is hopeful of having McQueen, Proctor, Nathan Peats and Dan Sarginson available to face the Broncos on Good Friday and remains optimistic that once some key players return from injury that they can string a run of wins together.
"Teams have been 1-5 and won 15 in a row. The Sharks lost a couple and went on a run," Henry said.
"The challenge has always been to get a couple of wins in this period where we've got a lot of injuries and at the moment we haven't been able to do that.
"We've been thereabouts in a couple of games, we've been in games but we haven't closed it out or clawed our way back to get a result.
"The confidence would have been right up if we'd been able to do that last week but we weren't and the pressure mounts again.
"We got back to 26-16 with a 10-point deficit and we just kicked the ball on the full into the in-goal and they rolled.
"We lost that momentum. If we get a repeat set and build some pressure and build on that, then who knows.
"The guys that have got to make those plays are the key positions and we weren't able to do it today."