We lost mentally: Cleary
Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary believes Jarryd Hayne's 10-minute blitz all came down to the mental aspect of the game with the former Australian international identifying the side's weakness to guide the Gold Coast Titans to a 26-14 victory.
Mid-season recruit Malakai Watene-Zelezniak was denied a four-pointer for accidental off side in a close call that would've levelled the scores midway through the second half.
Cleary disagreed with the call but said while the decision proved to be a turning point, the side needed to be better in their response.
The Titans received a penalty to go on the attack, before Hayne crossed over for his first of two tries in a five-minute period on the back of the no try ruling.
"The Mal no-try, personally I thought it was a lose carry, so if that's the case then it's not a strip," Cleary said.
"It was big and I felt we did a lot of things right tonight but just couldn't build enough pressure.
"When it backs onto each other, the resilience gets tested and mentally in that second half there was a huge shift in the game. Jarryd Hayne would've sensed that and he's a class player and took that opportunity."
Cleary admitted the last tackle options from halves pairing Luke Brooks and Tui Lolohea were a let down, however was pleased with what the forward pack offered up the middle of the paddock.
"We're trying to play more consistently and go set-for-set with teams and grind, there is definitely improvements. Tonight I thought we earnt opportunities but then we couldn't capitalise through not finishing the set off well," Cleary said.
"I thought the guys in the middle did well, led by [Aaron] Woodsy. We certainly gave ourselves every chance in that space but if you can't finish your sets off and build that pressure or penalty comes at the wrong time then I think they got their back up and they kicked out to two tries — that really affected us mentally."
Woods backed up his Origin II performance with a 65-minute effort and again topped the run metres for the side.
With casualties to come out of Game Two for this weekend's round, the Tigers skipper had no issues backing up just 48 hours after the clash on Wednesday night.
"It's part of my job, Ivan asked me if I wanted to back up and I said yes… I'm here to play football," Woods said.
"When you're on the field you've got to do what's best for the team and put your body on the line. It's tough [to back up] at times but that's my job.
"I just said to Ivan I didn't want to come off and stiffen up on the sidelines on the cold night, so if anything I can't thank him enough for letting me stay on the field."
After a below-par performance for the Blues, Woods said Hayne's performance against the Tigers came as no surprise but believed the side handed opportunity to him on a platter at times.
"We gifted him those [tries], you've got to take the opportunities when you get them and a bloke like him does that," he said.
“It's disappointing, we had the Titans on the ropes but our last tackle options and penalties on the fourth and fifth tackles really hurt us.
"We did well defending but were our own worst enemies."
Now officially last on the Telstra Premiership ladder, Wests Tigers face the Knights in Newcastle next week in a bid to break a now seven-game losing streak.