Gold Coast Titans coach Garth Brennan admits there is "a trust issue" in his side's defensive line after suffering a 54-8 annihilation at the hands of the St George Illawarra Dragons.
In the pre-season the Titans mentor assured fans his side would be known as one that was "tough to beat" but Brennan was quick to add in the post-match press conference that his team never threw in the towel or gave up.
It was the biggest defeat the Dragons have dished out to the Titans as they scored at virtually a point a minute for the last 50 minutes of the match.
The Dragons found holes on the left and right, but peppered the Titans right side in particular during three tries in as many minutes in the first half.
"Some sides get a hammering one week and turn it around the next week," Brennan said.
"You've got to be on, and defensively we weren't, but the guys were trying there's no doubt about that.
"The guys in the dressing shed are feeling it. They are doing it tough and that shows they care. We need to be better than that but I don't think they gave up."
Match Highlights: Titans v Dragons - Round 3; 2018
Brennan noted his side was still scrambling at the death in defence despite holes opening up left, right and centre.
"We are a young football side and people have got to understand that we've got some new combinations where the guys haven't played together in the past," he said.
"There is probably a bit of a trust issue there from our guys on the inside and our guys on the edge, and that will come in time.
"For them to be connected they need to trust each other and at the moment there is a lack of trust in our defensive line and that's showing, but the only way you are going to learn from it is to keep working hard."
Brennan conceded his side was just not up to the mark and would have to turn it around quickly ahead of the clash with the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
"I'm very disappointed and it is tough when you get a scoreline like that, but we've got to learn from it," he said.
"We weren't good enough today, as simple as that.
"Defensively we were a long way off where we needed to be, right from the start when we conceded that soft try in the first couple of minutes of the game, but to the boys credit and the real positive out of it is that the boys got themselves back in the fight at 8-8."