Titans impress at trial
THE Gold Coast Titans' impressive early season display continued at the weekend with two victories, a draw and a solitary loss from the four matches the club played.
The first-choice Titans side led the way for the Gold Coast club with a thumping 40-6 win over NRL rivals Cronulla in a trial match in Darwin on Saturday night.
“It's a trial and you can't get too carried away with the result, but what I was particularly pleased with was the effort of everyone from the starting 13 right through to those replacements who came on and did their bit,” Titans coach John Cartwright said.
“We let in a couple of soft tries and we won't want to be doing that in a few weeks time.
“However, I felt the entire forward pack really took control of the game at times and allowed our backline combinations to execute the game plan as we wanted to.
“Physically it's as good, in stages, as I've seen us defend.
“Physically I thought we looked like we handled Cronulla a lot better than maybe we would've last year.
“I think it showed our off-season has achieved what we wanted to achieve and as a team I think we had more contributors than probably last year.”
The Titans also impressed in Rockhampton where a team, comprised of fringe first graders and under-20 players, played out a 26-all draw in their pre-season encounter with Queensland Cup side Central Comets.
And in another promising sign for the Titans, the clubs Harold Matthews (under-16) and SG Ball (under-18) sides shared the honours with St George at Tugun on Saturday.
The Titans won the under-16 match 38-8 while the under-18 team was beaten 40-26.
In Darwin, former Tweed Heads Seagulls player Luke O'Dwyer opened the scoring for the Titans, barging his way over the line in the opening minutes.
Making the most of the slippery conditions, the Titans crossed again through Mark Minichiello, the boot of Scott Prince providing the Gold Coasters with a handy 12 point lead.
A dropped ball during the next set of six combined with some poor defence allowed Cronulla to reduce the deficit to 12-6 at the quarter-time break.
Prince combined with Brett Delaney to put the hardworking centre across untouched and taking the Titans to an 18-6 lead.
Other players who stood out for the Titans included replacement forward Ian Donnelly, centre Esi Tonga and Tweed Heads Seagulls playmaker Brad Davis who set up several tries.
Prince, playing his only trial before the Titans' season opener against Newcastle on March 15, said the Titans tough pre-season campaign had paid dividends in the tough humid conditions.
“We have certainly worked extremely hard on speed, strength and power during the off season with Chris McLellan and I think it showed,” he said.
“The forwards were great and laid a great platform for us to work with.
“There is definitely plenty to work with and we'll only improve as a team the more we train and play together.”