Maiden finals campaign result bad
IT was disappointing for everyone at the Gold Coast Titans to go down 40-32 to the Brisbane Broncos.
However, we can take a lot out of that last 40 minutes of play.
It was a big game for us, but I think there are things we can learn from and work on for tomorrow's rumble with the Eels.
The Broncos managed to score several early tries and when Israel Folau bagged another, the gap seemed to be getting unreachable.
We have an issue with giving away tries through a lack of concentration, which we need to work on, as well as preventing those intercept tries.
There were times in the second half when we had an attacking kick which we didn't follow up on, which is unusual for us.
Not trapping Karmichael Hunt or competing for a grubber kick in goal are things we should have done better.
We did, however, turn the tide in our favour with back-to-back tries.
This helped us build great momentum and we were able to claw our way back to a two-point deficit.
But once again, Folau broke us before big Dave Taylor put the icing on their cake.
Both those tries came from a lack of concentration which unfortunately cost us the game.
I personally think there were a couple of dubious calls made during the game in the Broncos favour.
As a player you must go with the referees' calls and try not to let it bother you, otherwise you risk losing focus like we did.
Once you let a referee get under your skin, it can definitely hamper your concentration and change the way you play the game.
As a player it does get very frustrating, and I think John Cartwright simply said what many people were thinking.
PSYCHOLOGICALLY, the boys lifted when Parramatta got over St George Illawarra and we found out we were going to Sydney, not Melbourne.
Not that we expect an easier time of it against the Eels, but for some reason it isn't as daunting as the long haul to the Storm's cauldron.
We've had a short preparation so far ahead of this weekend's game, with training on Monday and Tuesday only, but we will cover a lot more once we get to Sydney.
They may be the form side and heavy favourites for the clash, but we're really confident about playing Parramatta.
All the boys are fit and well, and pumped to have William Zillman back from suspension.
Where our defence was winning games earlier in the year, it has definitely been an issue that we will need to work on.
We have leaked too many points lately and they have some key men in rookie Daniel Mortimer and of course Jarryd Hayne who are both playing exceptionally well and can pile the tries on.
That said, forwards Nathan Cayless, Nathan Hindmarsh and Fui Fui Moi Moi have been working really well to give those guys room to move.
We're going to have to be right on our game if we're going to be able to stop their go-forward and that I believe will be crucial to securing the win.
Hayne needs room to move to make the freakish tries he's been scoring, so we forwards need to aim up, restrict his time with the ball, and keep him out of the game as much as possible.
We'll have to keep an eye out for his kick return as well, but we have some genuine speed in our young outside backs.
All in all, everyone is really excited to have a second chance at the semi-finals.
We play footy for massive games like this - games where you have everything to win and everything to lose.
Hopefully, we will return triumphant and book ourselves a clash with the Bulldogs.
Then, we are just one win away from an illusive grand final berth.