Terrible ball control has cost the Gold Coast Titans dearly at Bathurst with the depleted side going down to Penrith 40-0.
With a completion rate of less than 60 per cent, we gifted the Panthers far too much possession and after leading only 8-0 at half-time, Penrith ran away with the match.
A tigerish defensive effort for 60 minutes was ruined by continual unforced errors that proved too hard to defend in the end. The Titans completed just 52 per cent of their sets and had only 39 per cent of possession.
The Titans started solidly and could have had two tries in the first 10 minutes but Anthony Don and William Zillman were called back after video replays. Both opportunities were created by Aidan Sezer.
Don was ruled offside on a neat Sezer kick from 35 metres after he beat Matt Moylan to the ball. Soon after William Zillman was over the line after running a great line onto a Sezer pass, but it was ruled an inside decoy runner ran obstruction. Both were 50-50 decisions.
However, for the remainder of the half – that included 15 penalties – ball control became second-class and cost the side dearly although, fortunately only eight Panthers points.
After 20 minutes, after the Titans had paid dearly for lost possession in three straight sets, finally there was a try that wasn’t called back. Jamal Idris scored on the left edge when put into a hole by Matt Moylan after good lead-up work by Segeyaro.
Jamie Soward missed the conversion so the score was 4-0 but eight minutes later it was 8-0 when right centre Dean Whare scored for the Panthers. Peter Wallace put up a pin-point bomb to Anthony Don’s wing and Don leapt high to spectacularly bring in the ball. But Panthers winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak knocked it out.
Zillman’s kick off bounced dead in goal and the Titans regained possession from the line-drop out but from that point, every time the Titans had good ball in Penrith territory they squandered it with unnecessary errors.
Fortunately the defence held out stoutly for the remainder of the half but they had to work overtime in the heat, with the Panthers also coughing up the ball too often. Penrith completed just 16 of 24 sets in the first 40 minutes compared to the Titans’ 14 from 22, but most surrendering was on the first three plays.
Nate Myles had made 27 tackles in that period and Luke Douglas 25, as the Titans were forced to burn too much energy defending.
The second half started with an extraordinary show of speed by James Roberts which put him into the clear. He found David Mead in support but, 20 metres out on the third, he threw it to a Penrith player. Next set, a pass from Ryan James 20 metres out was ruled forward – the first two sets of the second half not completed.
We then conceded a penalty for charging Wallace at the kick and from the ensuing set Idris was in for his second try from short range down the left, beating Mortimer and Roberts. Moylan’s conversion made it 14-0 but if he had just held the ball better, the Titans could have been right in the match.
Idris scored his third try when again he built up too much speed close to the line on the left. Referee Alan Shortall ruled try and took it to the video but there was no conclusive evidence he made it, but the decision had to stand. Moylan missed the kick for 18-0.
Penrith 40 (Idris 3, Whare 2, Jennings, Manu, Cartwright tries; Moylan 4 goals) beat Gold Coast 0.