Kevin Proctor celebrates one of his two tries for the Titans against the Broncos. Picture: Getty Images
Kevin Proctor celebrates one of his two tries for the Titans against the Broncos. Picture: Getty Images

Recruits impress but Titans overrun by Broncos

The Gold Coast Titans squandered a golden opportunity to kickstart their 2019 NRL campaign after blowing an 18-point lead to lose to the Broncos in a trial on Saturday night.

Immortal Mal Meninga, now on the Titans staff, declared on Saturday he wanted the Gold Coast to be bigger than the Broncos and for 30 minutes they were on track to make an emphatic statement.

Coach Garth Brennan had the Titans fired up as Kevin Proctor bagged a double to give the Gold Coast an 18-nil lead after 21 minutes.

But the wheels fell off as Brennan started to rotate his players, allowing Alex Glenn to score a hat-trick and the Broncos record a 25-22 win at Cbus Super Stadium.

"It was a good start but it's a learning curve for us," Brennan said.

"It was the Titans of old in the fact we got comfortable and stopped doing what got us there in the first place.

"Some of the guys that came off the bench did a decent job. The guys coming on have to have an impact on the game.

"The mantra that 'close enough isn't good enough' is what we've got to build into this club.

"We want to win, whether it's a trial match, comp match or game of marbles. We've got to get that mentality."

Overall it was an up-and-down night for the Titans.

 

Titants recruit Tyrone Peachey looks to pass the ball against the Broncos on Saturday night. Picture: Getty Images
Titants recruit Tyrone Peachey looks to pass the ball against the Broncos on Saturday night. Picture: Getty Images

 

Optimism is high on the Gold Coast this year and in his second season at helm, Brennan has assembled a squad he believes can be an NRL finals force in 2019.

New recruits Shannon Boyd (Canberra), Tyrone Peachey (Penrith) and Tyrone Roberts (Warrington) showed positive signs in their first hit-outs of the season.

The 126kg Boyd was back to his rampaging best, carting the ball with vigour against a quality Broncos pack featuring Matt Lodge and Joe Ofahengaue.

Peachey started at left centre before shifting to lock as Brennan searched for the best way to utilise the NSW Origin utility.

Halfback Ash Taylor looks a far more composed player with his good friend Roberts at five-eighth and Brennan will not look to break them up despite having young sensation AJ Brimson at his disposal.

 

The Titans’ Brian Kelly runs the ball against the Broncos. Picture: Getty Images
The Titans’ Brian Kelly runs the ball against the Broncos. Picture: Getty Images

 

In his return from a shoulder reconstruction, Brimson replaced veteran fullback Michael Gordon and is on track for a bench utility spot to start the season.

The signs were positive for maligned forward Bryce Cartwright, who crunched Broncos man-child David Fifita with a stinging try-line tackle and finished the game without having any brain explosions.

After two mediocre seasons on the Gold Coast, Kiwi Test forward Proctor produced a spirited performance to nab two tries through pure desperation.

At their best, the Titans stunned the Broncos and looked like a team that could well challenge for the NRL's top eight in 2019.

 

But the fashion in which the Gold Coast crumbled as Brennan benched his best players proved the Titans' depth may not be as strong as the coach believes.

The Titans will kick-off their premiership quest against Canberra at Cbus Super Stadium on March 17.

 

 

 

 

TITANS v BRONCOS - FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED

 

 

1. KODI Nikorima is up for the challenge. All eyes are on the Broncos halfback this season and he was good if not great against the Titans on Saturday night. He was guilty of some poor decision-making early but atoned with two superb balls for Alex Glenn tries.

 

2. ANTHONY Seibold's new Broncos era has started with promise. Brisbane were sluggish against Wynnum Manly last week and started slowly last night. But they produced a much better second half to go into their round-one clash against Melbourne with momentum.

 

3. MATT Gillett does not belong at lock. Returning from a fractured neck, Gillett played as a 'middle' on Saturday night and struggled for impact. Gillett must be on the edges where he makes brilliant defensive reads.

 

4. TYRONE Roberts could be the man to heap the Titans' $1 million halfback Ash Taylor reach his potential. Taylor looks a calmer player with his good friends Roberts beside him which bodes well for the Gold Coast in 2019.

 

5. DEFENCE needs to be the Titans' focus in 2019. The Titans looked sharp with the ball but their right edge crumbled when Kevin Proctor left the field and they need to be better.

News Corp Australia


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