Gallen's warning: Remember the Titans
They are four points adrift of the top eight with seven weeks remaining in the regular season, but Sharks skipper Paul Gallen has warned the top eight teams to beware of the Gold Coast Titans after they dished out a 30-10 win over Cronulla on Saturday night.
Played in atrocious conditions in the opening 40 minutes with water covering two-thirds of the playing surface at the 30 minute mark, the Titans didn't concede a try against the defending premiers until the 72nd minute by which time they had scored 30 points of their own in by far their most complete performance of the season to date.
With a three-game winning streak punctuated by a bye last week the Titans have picked up a maximum of eight competition points in the past month and their fortunes could rest on the result of their Round 20 clash with the Panthers next Saturday.
It was the second time this season the Titans have defeated the Sharks and after moving up two places on the ladder to sit in 12th position Gallen believes the teams ahead of them on the ladder should take a look over their shoulder.
"The Titans were coming 13th tonight and we were coming second," Gallen said after the game. "We're a better team than that and we should have played better but we didn't for some reason.
"The Titans are a funny side. They're coming where they are on the ladder but they've got some good players and they're going to be a handful for a number of sides coming into the back-end of the season."
With near enough to a fully-fit squad at their disposal the Titans are beginning to look more and more like the team that was predicted to play finals footy at the start of the season.
Senior players such as Jarryd Hayne, Nathan Peats and Kevin Proctor are having a major influence on the outcome, Konrad Hurrell's power-packed runs are setting the right tone and Ash Taylor's confidence seems to have grown after reuniting with Tyrone Roberts in the halves.
Wins against the Wests Tigers and the Dragons were a step in the right direction but coach Neil Henry can sense the opportunity to do "something special" if they can maintain the same attitude for the remainder of the season.
"We're building. It can turn into something special if we want it and we have a bit of luck and we keep the same side on the park and we're hungry every week," Henry said after his side recorded their biggest ever win against the Sharks, eclipsing the 18-4 victory at Skilled Park back in 2008.
"It is a game at a time for us. There's a gap to that top eight and the only way we can bridge that gap is to keep winning.
Four wins and a draw in a six-week period put the Titans on the path to a long-awaited finals finish last season and captain Ryan James says that if they can maintain the standard they set on Saturday night that a return to September football is well within reach.
"We can, that's the goal," James said of carrying their winning momentum through the final seven rounds.
"We had a goal to win a couple in a row and I know we say it every week, but we just have to look at next week and take it down to Penrith and do the same against them.
"We've got a pretty complete team at the moment.
"We've got a pretty strong 20-odd players at the moment and it's great.
"If we can keep trucking on like we're doing and working hard at training and doing the little things right I think we can really make a push for it."