The Titans tonight went down 30-10 to one of the premiership heavyweights North Queensland Cowboys at Barlow Park Cairns on a hot, humid night in the tropics.
After a promising start that however led to no points, it took 17 minutes for the first points to be scored – by the Cowboys. They then had the better of the game for the next 60 minutes with superior ball control.
“I thought it was a solid hit-out," said coach Neil Henry who was not too disheartened with the result or the effort.
"You can see the difference between a side that is settled and they know what they are doing and we have a number of changes. They are one of the top contenders and they exposed us a couple of times.
"What contributed to it was our error rate, we made four or five errors in our own 40 and we paid the price.
"There is a bit to take out of that, when we control our possession, we need to be better defensively."
The Cowboys scored in the left corner through Tautau Moga with a well-worked passing shift to the left and then Test champion Johnathan Thurston took control and put centre Mark Wright in for a try with a beautiful pass, giving Wright some space.
The Titans crossed in the 29th minute when Matt Srama went over from dummy-half but when Thurston created a try Gavin Cooper on the left edge three minutes from half-time the Cowboys led 16-6.
Tries in quick succession to Cowboys Jake Granville went over from range then Moga scored his second and Kelepi Tanginoa crossed soon after to make it 30-6 with 11 minutes remaining.
Perhaps the best try of the night was scored by Kevin Gordon in the left corner in a quick-passing sequence started by James Roberts three minutes from the end.
Greg Bird was busy and effective in his return from injury and skipper Nate Myles was also solid in his comeback.
There was plenty of effort by our boys and positive signs with Aidan Sezer taking the line on with confidence and fullback contenders William Zillman and Josh Hoffman showing doing some good things. Ryan James was physical and hooker Kierran Mosely again impressed.
There were no major injury concerns coming from the trial with Eddy Pettybourne (ankle) and Nate Myles (shoulder ‘burner’) coming off in the second half but both had minor complains.
North Queensland Cowboys 30 (Tautau Moga 2, Matthew Wright, Gavin Cooper, Jake Granville, Kelepi Tanginoa tries; Johnathan Thurston 3 goals) def. Gold Coast Titans 10 (Matt Srama, Kevin Gordon tries; Aidan Sezer goal).