The Aquis Gold Coast Titans’ three-game winning run has ended in Darwin with a lack-lustre performance against Parramatta.
Both sides scored three tries each but the Titans were outplayed for three quarters of the match after leading 8-0 after just 12 minutes.
None of the Titans’ three tries were completed, although all kicks were from the touchline.
“Maybe it was too good a start, I think anyone watching the game knew, it was pretty simple, they held the ball and we didn’t in the conditions … we did a lot of defensive work in the first 40 minutes and ran out of energy to attack when we did get a few sets,” said coach Neil Henry.
“They defended out halves well and shut us down, it was a pretty frustrating game.
“We defended quite well for large parts of the game, particularly in the first half when they had five sets on our line … but it is a simple game sometimes, we just didn’t hold the ball.”
The first time the Titans had possession in the Eels’ half they were over for a try in the right corner. Ash Taylor threw a quick, long ball under pressure to right winger Don and he had an unopposed run to the right corner.
Tyrone Roberts missed the conversion for the Titans to lead 4-0.
In the 12th minute the Titans were in again in almost the same spot. Taylor kicked to the right corner on the last and Don jumped high and tapped back for Agnatius Paasi to fall on. Taylor this time missed the conversion for 8-0.
Yet by half-time they were 12-8 behind after two tries within five minutes by the Eels as defensive intensity dropped off and completions plummeted to 54 per cent in the first 40 minutes.
The first came 24th minute when a lobbed pass from Tyrone Roberts to Josh Hoffman went down and Eels winger Bevan French picked it up and ran 70 metres to score, just evading a desperate tackle from Konrad Hurrell who came from the other side of the field.
Michael Gordon converted for 8-6 and only five minutes later the Eels ran the ball to the left on the last tackle and were given too much latitude and Kenny Edwards flopped a ball out the back and Gordon grabbed it to score. He then added the extras from the left touchline.
The Titans almost began the second half with a try but Hoffman was held up over the line and then tripped of the ball.
It was the Eels who added first points through a 49th-minute penalty goal to Gordon to take their lead to six points, and it went to 12 in the 60th minute when Kaysa Pritchard crossed for a try under the posts. Corey Norman got through the line on the left hand side too easily from just inside the Eels’ half and found Pritchard in support.
That took the lead out to 20-8 and the Titans had retained too little possession to have mounted any decent pressure since the 15th minute mark while the Eels were completing at over 80 per cent.
There was an obviously lack of energy and attacking purpose compared to previous weeks but the Titans side had found a way to come back in so many games this season, there was an expectation it might happen again.
Don scored his second of the match in the 74th minute from a Crossfield bomb from Roberts on the right side, but it was not converted (by Roberts) and it was too late for a late flurry to save the match.
The Titans completed only 24 of 39 sets, and the percentage was worst in the first half.
Parramatta 22 (French, Gordon, Pritchard tries; Gordon 4 goals) beat Aquis Gold Coast Titans 12 (Don, Paasi tries) at TIO Stadium, Darwin. Crowd: 7712.