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The Titans returned to the finals in 2021 in Justin Holbrook's first year in charge thanks to a three-game win streak between round 19-21 and results falling their way in the last round.

Their 10-14 record was among the worst of any side to ever make the finals, although they were one agonising play away from upsetting the Roosters to progress to week two of the play-offs.

Through it all, their best footy was extremely good but their worst – particularly in defence – revealed some gaping holes that will need to be addressed for the side to make it back-to-back finals campaigns in 2021.

There was also an over-reliance on marquee man David Fifita, but the emergence of some young talent gives hope for next season.

Regular season win/loss record

There are few seasons where 10 wins and 14 losses would get a side into the top eight but the Titans managed it in 2021.

They won just two of 10 games from round six to round 15 but won eight of 14 at the ends of the season, and their heavy losses mostly only came against the top sides.

They enjoyed a number of 'away' games at their Cbus Super home ground once the competition shifted to Queensland, winning four of eight regular season games from that point.

Run metres differential

The Titans figured pretty well in the key metrics of run metres gained and conceded, with their record in both and the resulting differential all placing them in the top half of the competition.

Rookie winger Greg Marzhew (185 metres per game) was a tank in his limited chances while Moeaki Fotuaika (143), Tino Fa'asuamaleaui (136) and David Fifita (127) did the work up front.

Try scoring - game time

The Titans' attack was comparatively much better in the first half of games than the second, with the 20 minutes leading up to half time their most lethal patch, scoring the third-most tries of any side in this period.

However in second halves, which were on average higher-scoring across the board, the Titans' attack faltered scoring the equal 10th-most third-quarter tries and ninth-most tries in the final quarter of games.

Tries conceded - game time

The Titans' defence was a slightly different story to their attack. They were among the better defensive teams at the starts and ends of games, with their final quarters – a period where tired defences traditionally let in the most tries – holding up well.

Unfortunately the 20 minutes either side of half-time let them down, with the 12th-best defensive record in the second quarter of matches their worst defensive patch while also being their best attacking period with a net result of +3 in second quarters for the year.

With a season-long points differential of -3, the Titans finished net positive in quarters one, two and four, with a big -10 try deficit in the third quarter of games their real problem area.

Tries scored/conceded from six-agains

The ruck infringement rules weren't kind to the Gold Coast in 2021.

They capitalised to score just 11 tries all season in the set after a restart, but let in 20 for the year. The majority of those were from actual ruck infringements rather than offside set restarts.

Overall the Titans ranked 14th both for tries scored from six-agains and for defending the set after a six-again call.

Metres gained from offloads

The Titans were one of the teams given a licence to throw some second-phase play at opponents, with Fifita doing the majority of the damage. His size and strength made it near impossible at times for opponents to wrap up both ball carrier and ball, allowing him to pop 44 offloads for the year with a total of 336 metres gained from his offloads.

Jarrod Wallace (33 offloads for 182 metres) Brian Kelly and Moeaki Fotuaika (both 23 offloads) were also strong contributors.

Goal-kicking accuracy

The emergence of Toby Sexton (16/20 for 80%) lifted the Titans' average a bit towards the end of the year while Jamal Fogarty (66/85 for 77.6%) also did a reasonable job.

The Titans lost three games in 2021 that they could have won with perfect goal-kicking, missing one conversion in each of their three-point losses to the Roosters in round 14, the Knights in round 24 and the Roosters again in week one of the finals. However in all three games it was partly their good work off the tee that kept the score that close.

Players used

The Titans used relatively few players compared to other sides in a season where injuries and suspensions caused most clubs to call on the majority of their top 30 and in most cases quite a few players from outside that.

Other than AJ Brimson late in the season they were relatively free of serious or long-term injuries to key players.

Tackle breaks

Led by Fifita, the Titans were consistently among the best tackle-busting sides of 2021. Fifita topped all players, forwards or backs, with 154 in 21 regular-season appearances.

Backline stars Corey Thompson (80), Patrick Herbert (71) and Brian Kelly (52) were also hard to handle.

Overall only top-four powerhouses Penrith (874), Manly (857) and Melbourne (851) busted more tackles than the Gold Coast this year.

Captains' challenges

It's not exactly the most important stat behind the Gold Coast's season but it's certainly one to work on for next year. Their 16 incorrect challenges was the most of any side, one ahead of Canberra's 15.

Their five correct challenges was the equal fewest of any side as well, with their net result of -11 the worst of the 16 clubs.

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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