Gold Coast Titans captain Ryan James has hailed halves Kane Elgey and Ash Taylor for their match-winning ways in the wake of the side's stunning 26-14 triumph over the Brisbane Broncos.
The duo had been criticised following last week's 54-8 loss to the St George Illawarra Dragons even though coach Garth Brennan said it was his middle forwards that most disappointed him.
James led his side magnificently against the Broncos but said Elgey and Taylor, who set up the opening two tries with superb passes, had set the standard.
They both followed through on that with Taylor's game management skills on show in the closing stages as the Broncos threatened to come back. There were fears Elgey had lost his confidence after last week's loss but James said he had a feeling the talented five-eighth would produce something special against Brisbane.
"I thought Ash Taylor was excellent tonight and kicked us to a win and Kane Elgey playing off the back of him. They both had good games," James said.
"Kane had a great night up here and it was just great to see him playing with confidence … chucking that long ball [for an early try].
"I smiled to myself when I saw him throw one at training the other day and I thought 'he's back'.
"We knew we had to come out and start fast. We hadn't started fast all year, and came out and put two tries on."
Titans coach Garth Brennan was rightly proud that his side had beaten the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium for the first time since the club's inaugural match in 2007.
Match: Broncos v Titans
Round 4 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
- LIVE PASS
"It sums up that we are heading in the right direction," he said.
"There is still a lot of work to be done, there is no doubt about that, and there will be another hiccup along the road somewhere no doubt.
"But we've got to enjoy tonight. The boys worked hard and hundred percent credit to those guys. They've worked really well this week. It hurt them last week. They were feeling it. It's been a long week, but they've come here tonight with a purpose to prove it to themselves that they could do it."
Bryce Cartwright played just one minute of the match off the bench and Brennan explained why.
"He came on when there was a head knock but when it became a real defensive, arm wrestle … at that point I couldn't get him into the game," he said.
"He would have liked to have played more minutes but he understands that it is a 17-man game. Mitch Rein didn't get a lot of minutes tonight either."