Shattered Gold Coast captain Tino Fa’asuamaleaui believes he does not deserve a State of Origin call-up after he took the blame for the Titans’ remarkable collapse in the 35-24 loss to Brisbane on Friday.
The relentless Fa’asuamaleaui finished the night with 271 running metres, 129 post-contact running metres and 31 tackles after amassing 203 running metres, 93 post-contact metres and 16 tackles in the first half when the Gold Coast held a commanding 24-4 advantage.
However, it was his decision for Jamayne Isaako to attempt a short kick-off with the Titans leading 24-10 in the 57th minute which led to a runaway try to Brisbane’s Jordan Riki as the Broncos piled on 31 unanswered point in the second half.
Despite his vivid disappointment with the result at Suncorp Stadium that condemned the Titans to a 3-9 record, Fa’asuamaleaui will likely be one of the first forwards picked when the Maroons brains-trust meet this weekend to select their team for the series opener in Sydney on June 8.
Titans: Round 12
But there was no consoling the giant lock who believes he owes Queensland after rating his 2021 series as “disappointing”.
“Honestly, I don’t think I’ll be in Origin camp the way I played then. The second half, there were a lot of things where I let the boys down and it’s something that Billy and the coaching staff and the selectors will be looking at,’’ he said.
“The way I performed then and the last couple of weeks haven’t been up to scratch and I’ll honestly be surprised if I’m in camp.
“I really want to get that Maroons jersey because I feel like I owe Queensland. I didn’t play good last series and I let the state down. I’m hoping I’m in the mix to get picked and make sure I do a job for Queensland.
“He (Maroons coach Billy Slater) is one of the best and that’s the reason I want to make Queensland because Billy is a part of it. I was down at the Storm with him and every time we trained, I looked up to him so much.’’
Fa’asuamaleaui took full responsibility for the botched short kick-off from Isaako that savagely swung the momentum in favour of the Broncos who rattled off five tries in a 21-minute period after halftime.
“That’s mine. I stuffed up. Jamayne wanted to go long and I thought it was an opportunity to go short, didn’t understand the rule of going over the 10 (metre line) and when to grab it and missed the tackle so I put my hand up for that,’’ he said.
“It’s not good leadership from myself. It’s easy, it’s a short cut. That’s why it hurts, I let the boys down. I won’t do that again, I need to be better.’’
Riki scores off the kickoff
Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook said the Titans were in “complete control” at 18-0 but “we just completely lost our way” with “reckless” and “just dumb” football.
“We found a way to throw it away... we deserve to feel like this. He (Tino) was enormous, he doesn’t come off the whole first half," Holbrook said.
"I’m not here blaming Tino."