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Why Anthony Don is better than good

By Tony Webeck, Chief Queensland Correspondent‌‌, ‌‌‌NRL.com

2017 NRL - Grant Trouville © NRL Photos
2017 NRL - Grant Trouville © NRL Photos

It's become the favourite catchcry of Fox League commentators – "Is Don, is good!" – and he is the cut-price cult hero among Titans fans but his teammates believe Anthony Don now deserves consideration as one of the NRL's elite wingers and a contender to play for the Kangaroos.

In the lead-up to last Saturday night's points frenzy at Suncorp Stadium any discussion of wing men centred around Storm flyers Suliasi Vunivalu and Josh Addo-Carr but Don outshone them both in a performance full of match-winning plays under pressure.

Like what you saw last Saturday night? Get to Cbus Super Stadium this Saturday for the match against the Sea-Eagles. Click here to get your tickets. 

The Titans' three-match winning streak began with a Round 8 victory over the Sharks that was sealed when Don conjured an escape act from his own in-goal to rival anything David Copperfield can imagine and there were a half-dozen involvements against the Storm that were critical in his side getting the two competition points.

In the first half he pushed a ball back inside before going into touch that earned his side a repeat set from which they scored in the ensuing six tackles and later evaded the attempts of none other than Billy Slater to push him across the sideline to touch down majestically millimetres inside the corner post.

The Titans' first try of the second half came from a Don tap-back that fell into the arms of Chris McQueen, he did the same for Konrad Hurrell to score the match-winner two minutes from full-time and when Cameron Smith plotted a short kick-off to give the Storm one last shot Don shifted from the right to the left to successfully defuse the situation.

Typically, with minimum fuss.

"People are starting to realise that he is a good player," McQueen said of the 29-year-old Grafton Ghost who scored a try in the curtain-call for Country Origin during the Representative Round.

"I'm not too sure why he's so under-rated but we were talking about him after the game, he's got to be one of the best wingers in the game at the moment.

"He's been outstanding for us all year."

The Titans were winless in the three weeks that Don was missing due to a dislocated shoulder he suffered against the Knights in Round 2 but have ridden on his coattails to register three wins on the trot and generate genuine discussion around his possible Origin selection for New South Wales.

Englishman Joe Greenwood admits he knew next to nothing about Don prior to arriving on the Gold Coast in February but believes that higher honours than Origin are even within his reach.

"I didn't know much about him," Greenwood told NRL.com. "He goes under the radar quite a lot. Now, playing with him, he's an unbelievable player and I hope he gets recognised for what he does.

"Hopefully he's within reach of playing for his country.

"He's saved us a few times. At Cronulla a couple of week ago, getting out of the line in the last couple of minutes, out of our in-goal saved us from getting a drop-out.

"Knocking the ball back on the weekend for Koni to win the game, he does them little things and he's starting to get recognised now."

When Titans fans were asked to pay tribute to Don's contributions in recent weeks Twitter was flooded with Don disciples eager to sing his praises from the rooftops.

Twelve months ago in the same week that he signed a contract extension with the club Don was dropped back to play where his journey towards the NRL took off, with Burleigh in the Intrust Super Cup.

For four years his place in a struggling Titans team never seemed secure but coach Neil Henry now views him as one of the most reliable and dependable players in the squad.

"He's a very consistent performer who makes the most of his opportunities," Henry said.

"It's a credit to him that he's been able to improve and he really enjoyed the representative week playing for Country. He came back with some confidence out of that too in a different environment and playing that game.

"He seems to be cool under a bit of pressure anyway and the boys love playing with him because he's consistent."

When it comes to doing interviews Don is almost painfully shy when asked to discuss his own talents and attributes but Gold Coast half Kane Elgey – the man who kicked to Don when his team needed a miracle against Melbourne – left no doubt as to the position he now holds within a Titans team suddenly back in the finals frame.

"He's been really good the last few years, he's a bit under-rated," said Elgey.

"He played for Country and he's definitely a big part of this team and he's been real good this year.

"He's a humble guy so you're not too sure [if he's aware of his hero status]. Especially playing Country was good for him and to get recognised for what he's done.

"He's just a humble guy and I hope that people get around him."

This article first appeared on NRL.com