Completions the Key
There is at least one good reason the Aquis Titans have crept into the NRL top eight and a good chance of staying there – possession.
While not as flashy a statistic as tries scored, line breaks or line break assists, completion rates are often what separate the winners and losers.
In that regard Gold Coast is wielding the weight of possession to grind down opponents, and will be aiming to repeat the dose against the Sharks at Cbus Super Stadium on Monday night.
Simply put, the Titans are denying rival teams the opportunity to attack by keeping as much ball tucked under their arms as they can.
In recent wins against the Dragons and Eels, the Titans managed completion rates of better than 85 per cent.
That discipline with the football is helping them carry the ball away from their own line and to apply pressure at the opposite end.
“We’re sitting near the top for completions and that’s something we’d want to maintain,” said coach Neil Henry.
“It’s something we’ve been trying to build over the course of the season.”
Henry is, however, aware that possession does not always equate to wins.
The side completed 85 per cent against the Raiders and 83 per cent against the Warriors and missed out on what would have been vital wins during the State of Origin period.
In contrast, the Sharks’ completion was no more than 69 per cent during wins against the Roosters and Knights, suggesting it’s what you do with the ball that matters.
Such is the high quality of defence in the NRL, the stronger outfits demand more than just safe carries to breach their lines.
“It’s always a balance between ball control and tossing enough at teams to worry their defence,” Henry said.
“Good completion doesn’t guarantee a win.
“But when we’re on our game our halves run and they’re a threat.”
When the Titans have the ball they making smart, confident decisions.
Halves Ashley Taylor and Tyrone Roberts contributed four try assists between them in their past two matches.
Their general play kicking has also been strong, with Roberts in particular finding plenty of space and angles.
“He’s got a big boot and when he’s on his game he’s pinpoint,” Henry said.