Titans desperate to rediscover winning feeling
No one remembers the giant killers if they don't figure in finals football which is why the Titans are desperate to rediscover that winning feeling and embark on a run of victories, starting on Friday night against the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown.
The only team to have defeated the two Telstra Premiership front-runners in the Storm and Sharks – not to mention being a well-executed kick from knocking off fourth-placed Brisbane – the Titans are in danger of vying for the wooden spoon rather than the top eight should they lose a fifth game on the trot this week.
It was only a month ago that Gold Coast had pushed into the top eight on the back of three consecutive wins and while that proved they could match it with the top teams, the way back is through energy and effort.
Last year the Titans went through a six-week period late in the season where they only lost one game to put themselves in finals reckoning and halfback Ashley Taylor says they can do it again if they get back to executing the basics for 80 minutes.
"It was pretty nitty-gritty," Taylor said of the three-game winning streak. "The boys put their hand up, we were running the ball hard, we were playing hard and there was lots of energy on the field and that's what we need to get back to. Everyone competing on the field and everyone putting in 100 per cent effort.
"I'm sure the boys are doing that but we just need to focus on it a lot more.
"That's what we need in our game, to get the little things right and once those little things come back and everyone's on the same page we've already shown that we can beat the top teams and we can be competitive.
"It's just a matter of getting back to that and getting some wins."
The Titans' task will be made easier on Friday night with Origin representatives Jarryd Hayne, Jarrod Wallace and Nathan Peats all expected to back up along with the return of Tyrone Roberts from a shoulder injury to partner Taylor in the halves.
Another bonus for the Titans is the ankle injury that will keep James Tedesco from lining up for the Tigers and like Taylor, coach Neil Henry believes a return to the competitiveness they displayed in 2016 will help to turn things around.
"If we can remember what got us some wins last year and what was keeping us in games we'll give ourselves a good chance to win games," Henry said.
"We got on a bit of a run and won a few games in a row and we were able to get there. We'll need to do the same again. We can't control the injuries we've had, we can only react to it and play some decent footy.
"The reality is that we haven't got too long. We need to get over this game first. The focus is on getting a result in Campbelltown and if we get that done we can shift it to a home game against the Dragons. It really needs to be a game at a time."
Taylor was solely responsible for the execution of the game-plan in a decimated team against the Rabbitohs last week and while the return of other key members of the spine is welcome, Henry still wants his young half in control much of the time.
"I think we do still need him to be dominant," Henry said. "He's our main kicker and warming to that role as a young, developing half.
"He's got a good kicking game, he needs to command the ball on both sides and he's a good runner of the ball as well."