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Warriors' power game on point, Ryan Hoffman's stylish 300-game celebrations, Hayne's fullback return largely a success and Titans fail to aim up on historic day for the club.

Warriors' power game on point

We may long for the razzle-dazzle but the power game that the Warriors employed on Saturday afternoon to such great effect was a different but equally spectacular form of entertainment.

From the opening exchanges the Warriors out-muscled the Titans as the likes of Ben Matulino, Ken Maumalo and David Fusitu'a ripped into the defensive line with fierce determination to force their way through the other side.

With momentum of the game running completely their way halves Shaun Johnson and Kieran Foran were able to play on the front foot and pull the Titans' defence apart at the seams, Foran exposing young Gold Coast forward Morgan Boyle on the left time and again.

Albert Vete, Bunty Afoa and Sam Lisone came off the bench and carried on the energetic carries that sent the Titans retreating time and again.

It's a simple plan but when done effectively is almost irresistible.

Hoffman celebrates 300th in style

Only 10 players who have spent their career in the forwards have played 300 games in the NRL and although Ryan Hoffman played 10 career games in the centres he is now a deserved member of their company.

Playing in his 55th game for the Warriors, Hoffman was joined on the field pre-game by his wife and two young children and then went to work, running a line on the left edge that has become his trademark to score his side's first try in the 10th minute.

And after two unsuccessful attempts at goal throughout his career, Hoffman was given the honour of slotting the final conversion of the Ata Hingano try from 10 metres right of the posts and curled it between the posts. 

Hayne's fullback return brings benefits

With his team on the back foot for most of the game it was not the type of encounter where Jarryd Hayne could display his full range of skills but there's no question he is most effective playing at fullback.

Showing absolute faith in his ability to execute skill under pressure, Hayne's first touch was a flick pass to winger Anthony Don on his own try-line that allowed the Titans to start their set on the right note and with very little possession he sparked his side's first try with a quick shift down a short side in the lead-up to Kane Elgey's try.

As is the case with players of Hayne's talent a grubber that seemed destined to go into touch stayed in long enough to force a repeat set and when his team was down by 20 points early in the first half it was Hayne who split Bodene Thompson and Shaun Johnson to score early in the half.

The only blight on his game was the frustration he displayed when errors were made or the ball didn't go his way. It's a sign of his expectations but may have a negative impact on the players around him.

Titans celebrations turn sour

It was meant to be a celebration of the club's 10-year history highlighted by a parade of some of the club's greatest ever players but the 2017 squad failed to rise to the occasion.

Preston Campbell, Luke Bailey, Scott Prince, Nathan Friend and Ashley Harrison were all in attendance as the Team of the Decade was unveiled prior to kick-off but after an early try to Kane Elgey there was little for them to cheer.

"It is very disappointing, that they could play with a bit more energy than us," Titans coach Neil Henry said.

"It was an important game for us and for the club and for the fans here with a few old boys here.

"There was a lot there in the background and we weren't able to deliver which is disappointing."

Two members of the team defeated by the Warriors on Saturday were named in the Team of the Decade – Ryan James and Anthony Don – with seven members of the first ever team voted in by Titans fans.

Titans team of the decade: 1. Preston Campbell, 2. David Mead, 3. Josh Hoffman, Mat Rogers, Kevin Gordon, Aidan Sezer, Scott Prince, Ryan James, Nathan Friend, Luke Bailey, Greg Bird, Anthony Laffranchi, Ashley Harrison. Bench: Mark Minichiello, Luke Douglas, Brad Meyers, Luke O'Dwyer, Anthony Don.

Second-year syndrome taking hold of Taylor

He has been his side's most creative outlet through the first half of the season but Titans half Ashley Taylor is starting to show signs of the dreaded second-year syndrome.

Coming into the game with an impressive 10 try assists to his name, Taylor appeared off the pace against the Warriors and was guilty of both poor execution and wrong decisions at crucial times in the game.

A kick out on the full after points handed Warriors possession on halfway from which they scored in the next set, he took a wrong option down a short side when the Warriors were stretched out to the left and a bomb early in the first half again on the back of points sailed way too deep and gifted the Warriors a seven-tackle set.

There has been a negativity to his body language in a number of games this year and the load of carrying his side's hopes may be starting to weigh heavily on his 22-year-old shoulders.


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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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