The news that the referees are blowing fewer penalties in 2019 has yet to reach the Gold Coast but Garth Brennan says they have no one to blame but themselves.
Leading into their crucial round-eight clash with the Cowboys on Friday night, the Titans have the unenviable mantle as the most penalised team in the Telstra Premiership.
Poor discipline was a major factor in Gold Coast giving up a 14-0 lead in the space of 12 minutes against the Wests Tigers last week, a loss that has them languishing in 13th position and in danger of losing touch with the top eight.
In seven games the Titans have conceded 55 penalties but the coach was adamant it was punishment that is self-inflicted rather than his team being targeted by match officials in any way.
"I’m not worried about being targeted, we've got to be better with our discipline,” Brennan said on Thursday.
"We don't want to be giving away penalties, we want to be working with the referees.
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“That's something that we've spoken about. We've done our homework on the penalties that we are conceding. We know where we can be better and they're hurting us.
"We had a string of penalties against us in that first half that led to the Tigers having 13 sets to our two.
“We need to handle that better. We're conceding tries off the back of penalties which hurts too.
"If we can reduce the amount of penalties we're giving away then hopefully we can reduce the amount of tries we're conceding. If we do that then we're more chance of getting a result.
"We're not blaming the referees, I'm not saying we're getting picked on by any stretch whatsoever. It's a case where we need to be better.”
Gold Coast welcome back Jarrod Wallace from a two-game suspension, while AJ Brimson and Keegan Hipgrave are set to make their returns from injury. Jai Whitbread will travel to Townsville on standby as the 18th man.
Back-rower Kevin Proctor said earlier in the week that the meeting with North Queensland represented a turning point in the Titans' season.
Brennan wasn’t quite so emphatic, but he recognises the significance of what a third victory would mean against a team that also has just two wins.
"It is important. We're sitting with six other teams with two wins,” Brennan said.
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"The competition is so close so every game is important but this one is important.
"Both us and the Cowboys are sitting together down the bottom and all sides are looking to spark that bit of a run.
"I'm still really confident that the boys can turn it around.
"It's not panic stations. All games are important but this is an important one for us at the moment.”