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Titans coach Justin Holbrook was wondering if complacency had crept into his side after lapping Canberra while a man down in round 16 as they failed to handle a similar situation in Friday night's 26-8 home loss to the Eels.

The Titans ran in three unanswered tries while David Fifita was in the bin against Canberra but conceded three tries to none with Kevin Proctor off the field against the Eels in a match-turning passage midway through the first half.

Holbrook was left wondering both whether the bin was necessary and why his team couldn't handle it better.

"No-one tried to do anything deliberately dangerous but they can get out of hand, unfortunately," Holbrook said.

"They both came in from either side low. We're playing a game of variables. That's the accountability we have to understand in rugby league.

Match Highlights: Titans v Eels

"No one wants to see those tackles but they can get out of hand without anyone trying."

Aside from being unhappy with the decision to sin-bin Proctor, Holbrook was also unhappy his team couldn't handle that period.

"We have to get used to playing with 12 men," he said.

"Two years ago when you went down to 12 men you kick the ball into touch, waste time, slow the game down now it's like a penalty and get on with the game.

Fifita collects a deflection to score

"I know against Canberra we had 12 and we were good enough to score tries but if you don't have the ball and you've got a sin bin on a potential dangerous tackle ... we have to be better at that.

"It's been happening for weeks now, we have to deal with it better. We dealt with it fantastically against Canberra, we probably dealt with it too well then we went down to 12 and then all your energy's gone.

"The whole game's [about] momentum now and when you don't have it, how do you get your energy levels back? You have to score yourself to get the game back in your devour otherwise how are you going to get it back."

There was some consolation that the side was able to lift in the second half and make a contest of it but Holbrook admitted time was running out to make a run at the finals.

"I'm proud of our second half to win it 8-6 but we knew we were behind," he said.

"If we played the first half with the same intent as the second we might have had some opportunities.

"I'm confident we've got it in us [to play finals] but we'll have to play a lot better than we played tonight. We're running out of time but I'm confident in the playing squad and our group."

Kelly gets the Titans on the board

Holbrook also revealed the unexpected decision to rest David Fifita in the first half was a pre-determined plan to rest the star back-rower.

"He's ok; we're not stringing a lot of games together lately in terms of match fitness and it was always going to be the plan to give him a rest regardless of the score so that was the reason behind that," he said.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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