Titans vow to make fans proud in derby
Still smarting from the capitulation to the Wests Tigers that ended their season Titans players have vowed to give their fans a performance they can be proud of when they host arch rivals the Broncos at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday.
With their finals hopes disappearing with barely a whimper last Sunday Titans supporters could be forgiven for dreading a possible seventh straight loss to their nearest neighbour and the team responsible for two of the Titans' four semi-final losses in the club's history.
It's been a tortured rivalry in recent times for those at the southern end of the M1, with last year's finals exit compounded by a fortuitous Broncos try two minutes from full-time when they met in Round 7 that extended Brisbane's winning streak to six straight.
Dale Copley's first try in the NRL was against the Titans back in 2009 and after playing six times for the Broncos against Gold Coast is now lining up in the south-east Queensland derby wearing Titans colours for the second time.
Producing their worst display of the year with their season on the line was compounded by the fact that it was Members' Appreciation Day last Sunday and Copley concedes that they owe their fans a much better showing on Saturday.
"There was no one more disappointed than the 17 players that left the field but the fact that it was our members' day and we asked them to get a photo at the end of the game just didn't really feel right," Copley told NRL.com.
"It didn't sit right so hopefully we can put in a lot better performance this week and they can leave proud to be wearing their Titans colours."
Bronco teams have lost just seven of 37 clashes with Gold Coast teams since 1988 and their record in the past 11 years against the Titans reads 17 wins from 22 matches and 14 of the past 16 meetings.
That record alone has made the rivalry feel decidedly one-sided and Copley says the only way to win back respect is to start evening up the ledger with a win this weekend.
"Over the years that's probably a fair assessment but I think the last couple of games, they just beat us in the last minute or two earlier this year and the semi-final last year was a really good contest," Copley said of the derby imbalance.
"The rivalry will only grow as the contests stay competitive and really close. If we're producing a really good game it will be a hell of a rivalry due to the proximity of the two clubs.
"Obviously you look at the ladder and they're still in the top four and we're battling down the other end of the ladder so if we can put in a really good performance – and obviously the aim is to win the game – hopefully our fans can enjoy that with us and walk away from here really proud of their team."
Current Titans captain Ryan James was a teenager sitting in the stands when the Titans and Broncos first started facing off a decade ago and he is hoping that former Broncos in the squad such as Copley, Jarrod Wallace and Ash Taylor will inspire them to break the drought.
"It was disappointing the performance we put in last week, especially on members day," James said.
"We've talked about it already and we definitely need to improve what we did. We need to be accountable for what we've done and go forward.
"This game's one that everyone stands up for. We've got a couple of old Broncos players who love playing this game – Jarrod Wallace and Dale Copley seem to go good in these games and it will be great to play alongside them."