Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook admits he needs more resilient footballers at the Titans after they seemingly forgot how to defend in the embarrassing 56-24 loss to Manly at Cbus Super Stadium.
The Titans led 24-8 after a perfectly executed first half but then conceded an astonishing nine tries in a deplorable 48-0 second half that Holbrook rated as bad as he’s ever witnessed as coach.
"It’s the lowest I’ve felt watching that second half unfold. It was horrible," Holbrook said.
"I don’t think they gave up, they just didn’t know what they were doing and it showed defensively.
"For 40 minutes we didn’t get it back … they got on top and we couldn’t do a thing to stop it.
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"They were cutting us open everywhere, all over the field. All of a sudden we went from defending as a team in the first half to defending by ourselves poorly in the second and it showed.
"The second half we never looked like stopping them and that is why we got hammered.
"We let ourselves down and everyone involved in our club.
"It is unacceptable and we’ve got to look at ourselves."
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It was their fourth loss in a row and fifth in six weeks. A team once considered a finals contender now looks like its battling to avoid a bottom four finish after falling two wins outside the top eight with just five wins from 15 games.
The Gold Coast are a football team with style, but no substance.
Holbrook has recruited some of the game’s brightest young talents at Parkwood, but just like the Broncos up the road in Brisbane, the team is bereft of a forward leader capable of dragging them back into the contest when momentum goes against them.
"We’ve got to get players that can get used to not having the ball and then do something about it," Holbrook said.
"Like I said for weeks now we’ve got to learn how to weather the storm when it’s not going our way.
"I think it’s collectively, I don’t think it’s one or two in the middle it is everybody when it comes to decision making."
Fullback AJ Brimson, winger Corey Thompson, prop Sam Lisone and back-rower Beau Fermor should return after the bye, but they won’t fix the issues plaguing the Gold Coast defence which conceded 10 line breaks in the second half alone.
Only the Broncos (482) and Tigers (440) have conceded more points than the Titans (436) this year and it’s clear Holbrook needs to bring in players who value defending their try line as much as they enjoy crossing it at the other end.
"That’s always ongoing whether we are winning or not, that’s always getting looked at," Holbrook said of his roster.
"We need a lot more to stop what’s just happened there. Everybody needs to be accountable for that and fix it."