Jarrod Wallace during the Titans’ loss to the Raiders. Picture: AAP
Jarrod Wallace during the Titans’ loss to the Raiders. Picture: AAP

New era, same old feeling for Titans

THE Titans' bold new era has kicked off with an all-too familiar feeling after the Gold Coast was thrashed by Canberra in their opening-round clash.

If Mal Meninga warned the Titans that failure is not an option this year then the Gold Coast's saviour may need to start sharpening his knives.

The Titans lacked discipline and direction in driving rain at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday as Ricky Stuart's Raiders kept their first clean sheet since 2013, running out 21-0 winners over the new and supposedly improved Gold Coast.

The Titans suffered a game day blow when $3 million halfback Ash Taylor (quad) was ruled out and copped another setback when five-eighth Tyrone Roberts (achilles) lasted only 12 minutes.

Torrential rain meant this was never going to be a free-flowing contest, but the nature of the Titans' performance was disappointing after all that had been promised.

 

Manly recruit Brian Kelly was one of many to give away a series of dumb penalties and winger Phillip Sami also got in on the action as the Titans finished on the wrong end of an 11-6 penalty count.

The Titans made 14 errors to finish with a 63 per cent completion rate and rarely looked like troubling Canberra's defence.

Shannon Boyd takes on the Raiders defence. Picture: Getty Images
Shannon Boyd takes on the Raiders defence. Picture: Getty Images

"We were a bit rudderless when we had the football," Titans coach Garth Brennan said.

"We made too many errors and put ourselves under pressure.

"Penalties hurt us, discipline was poor. We need to be better than that.

"It's round one. We can dust ourselves off and move on."

After conceding 582 points last season, the third worst defensive record in the NRL, Brennan was adamant the Titans' defence would improve in 2019.

For 39 minutes and 45 seconds it held strong before a typical Titans lapse allowed Raiders veteran Sia Soliola to score on the stroke of half-time for a 10-nil lead.

Sia Soliola is congratulated by Raiders teammates after scoring a try. PIcture: Getty Images
Sia Soliola is congratulated by Raiders teammates after scoring a try. PIcture: Getty Images

The Titans were facing an uphill, or upstream given the conditions, battle when Joey Leilua scored four minutes into the second half.

From there the contest descended into an error-fest in front of 9843 dedicated and drenched fans.

Former Titans CEO Graham Annesley, now the NRL's head of football, will hold his first Monday wrap-up today to address the weekend's controversies and may have to explain why AJ Brimson was denied a try with 17 minutes to go which would have given the Gold Coast a glimmer of hope.

Taylor could return for Saturday's trip to Cronulla to face the Sharks and Roberts will undergo scans on his achilles.

But a couple of playmakers aren't going to transform the Titans without the rest finding some football smarts first.

TITANS V RAIDERS: FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED

1. The Titans have shiny new players, a club mantra and Mal Meninga on board in 2019, but they still lack football smarts. The discipline and decision-making by the Gold Coast was atrocious in sloppy conditions and proved this team is in desperate need of some intelligent, experienced and composed players in key positions.

2. Titans coach Garth Brennan is already facing a huge challenge with his starting halves Ash Taylor (quad) and Tyrone Roberts (achilles) injured. Taylor was ruled out before the game and Roberts only lasted 12 minutes. Brennan may have to look to Storm recruit Ryley Jacks to plug a hole.

 

Tyrone Peachey looks dejected after his side’s 21-0 loss. Picture: Getty Images
Tyrone Peachey looks dejected after his side’s 21-0 loss. Picture: Getty Images

3. The Gold Coast's big name recruits struggled to make an impact in their club debuts. Centre Brian Kelly was ill-disciplined, prop Shannon Boyd made some silly mistakes and Tyrone Peachey had to make an early switch from centre to five-eighth. The Titans need more from their big guns.

4. Titans young gun AJ Brimson is going to take time to get back to his best. Brimson was thrust into a starting spot last night in his return from a shoulder reconstruction and looked underdone. Brimson will have a target on his head this year after his sensational rookie season and needs to rise to the challenge.

5. The Raiders played perfectly to the conditions. Hooker Josh Hodgson, halfback Aidan Sezer and English lock John Bateman were sensational in teaching the Titans how to get the job done as coach Ricky Stuart got drenched watching from the sideline.

CANBERRA 21 (J Leilua B Simonsson I Soliola tries J Croker 4 goals A Sezer field goal) bt GOLD COAST 0 at Cbus Super Stadium. Referee: David Munro, Liam Kennedy. Crowd: 9,843

News Corp Australia


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