It can certainly be argued that the Aquis Titans win against Sydney Roosters last night was the most pleasing, and significant considering how the team reacted to a 38-0 loss to Melbourne in the previous game, most important win of the season.
There were similarities in the 20 minutes of both games that may not have been apparent to all.
Against the Storm, the Titans dominated possession and field possession but came up with no points through some poor ball control and decisions – and after Cheyse Blair scored a runaway try for 4-0 early - from the 27th to 36th minutes Melbourne scored three tries that put the match out of reach.
Last night came a similar in that, in the 33rd minute, Latrell Mitchell scored a try that could have broken the Titans spirit after again they dominated possession and territory (playing the ball in the Roosters’ quarter 15 times in the first 10 minutes) for just a penalty goal that had the score at 2-all.
The next set from the kick off was the Roosters’ best of the first half, with a repeat set after Will Zillman was forced to push a kick dead.
But Mitchell Pearce lost possession of the next set, the Titans received a penalty and backed up with a good set and Agnatius Paasi showed great desire to reach out and score with 80 seconds of the first half left – which gave the Titans an 8-6 lead instead of being behind 6-2 and feeling a lot of work had amounted to little on the scoreboard, although the Roosters’ desperation in defence on their line was impressive.
What followed was a half of football that showed so many of the ingredients that Neil Henry’s team had been searching for – tighter defence on the edges, attack staying more direct, more patience to grind down their opponents, some good tries and aggression in defence right to the 80th minute that evidenced that the Titans pack certainly outpointed their opposites.
KEY MATCH STATS
POSSESSION: Titans 55%, Roosters 45%
COMPLETION RATE: Titans 79% (33/42), Roosters 68% (25/37)
ERRORS: Titans 9, Roosters 13.
TACKLES: Titans 278 (missed 28), Roosters 390 (missed 24)
OFFLOADS: Titans 13, Roosters 9.
LINE BREAKS: Titans 5, Roosters 1
PENALTIES: Roosters 11-8
TOP TACKLERS: Nathan Friend 36, Chris McQueen 35, Ryan James 33, Greg Bird 27, Zeb Taia 22.
TOP METRE MAKERS: David Mead 168, Greg Bird 167, Ryan James 160, Agnatius Paasi 159, Zeb Taia 140, David Shillington 132, Anthony Don 122,
MOST HIT-UPS/RUNS: Greg Bird 22, Ryan James 21, Zeb Taia 18, Agnatius Paasi 16, David Shillington 15, David Mead 14
TOP MINUTES (forwards): Taia 80, Bird 62, McQueen 62, James 57, Friend 55, Shillington 48, Paasi 46, Pulu 31, Douglas 27, Moseley 25.