Torrential rain and a flood of errors combined to sink the Titans in their season-opener against Canberra at Cbus Super Stadium, with the Raiders stunning the Titans with a 21-0 shut-out on an abysmal night at the Gold Coast.
The crowd of 9843 that braved the appalling conditions was a good one, considering heavy rain belted down on the Coast well before kick-off.
Unfortunately, the Titans were not able to produce the type of performance they were looking for to brighten their day.
But amid the gloom, there were some positives for the Titans.
Tyrone Peachey, Brian Kelly and Shannon Boyd were solid in their first hit-outs for the Gold Coast, especially Boyd – who was ferocious in attack and defence against his former teammates.
Skipper Ryan James did his best to try to inspire his team, and a number of players looked dangerous with the ball at times.
But while there was the occasional spark, the Titans never managed to ignite.
The Titans’ best chance of scoring came in the 63rd minute, when AJ Brimson looked to have crashed over in a scrappy piece of play in the corner.
But the referee ruled that the final pass from winger Brenko Lee had travelled forward, and the Titans came away empty handed.
The crowd definitely didn’t think the pass was forward, and voiced their displeasure. But there was no luck on offer anywhere for the Titans – even before the game began.
With Ash Taylor ruled out of the game before kick-off, the Titans were forced into an unexpected reshuffle, with AJ Brimson coming off the bench to partner Tyrone Roberts in the halves, and centre Dale Copley promoted to the interchange bench.
While being without their main attacking weapon would have been a big enough adjustment for the Titans on its own, the loss of Taylor was compounded in the 12th minute when his play-making deputy Roberts was carried from the field with an achilles tendon injury.
Star signing Tyrone Peachey was forced to shuffle into the halves to stem the roster’s bleeding, with Copley earning an earlier than expected call up to left centre.
As a result, the Titans attack and kicking game could not find any rhythm, with the home team unable to find the corners with their kicks that would have allowed them to force the Raiders to work hard out of their own end.
But fundamental errors were the Titans’ biggest concern in the first half, with the Gold Coast seemingly struggling with stage fright and the abysmal conditions as they coughed up possession with basic errors.
Resolute defence managed to keep the Raiders at bay, and a couple of inspirational pieces of play from skipper James – who showed terrific desperation to win possession by diving on a loose ball, and then forced a turnover with a big hit in defence – handed the Titans more chances.
By the Gold Coast did not put enough value on the rewards, and continued to turn the ball over.
Despite the Titans inviting them into the match time and again, the Raiders were contained to just a 4-0 lead, courtesy of two Jarrod Croker penalty goals after 27 minutes.
But a hammer blow was dealt to the home team just 15 seconds before the halftime siren, when Raiders prop Sia Soliola pounced onto a grubber under the posts, and delivered Canberra a 10-0 halftime lead.
But the Titans did not learn their lesson at halftime, producing back-to-back errors to put Canberra on the attack right after the restart.
Some poor efforts in defence gave Joey Leilua all the room he needed to muscle his way over and extend Canberra’s lead to 14-0 after 43 minutes.
A try to Bailey Simonsson, a field goal to former Titan Aidan Sezer and another late penalty goal to Croker finished the Titans off.