Penrith wore black, the Gold Coast wore blue and the Titans were left black and blue after a disappointing performance saw them leave Sydney’s west with a worrying injury toll and an even more concerning 24-2 loss to the Panthers.
The Gold Coast never really looked in the contest in a tough night at the office, a tough night compounded by a mounting list of walking wounded that will leave them struggling for numbers ahead of next weekend’s home game against the Melbourne Storm.
Halfback Ryley Jacks looks to be the most serious concern after being replaced 20 minutes from fulltime with painful rib cartilage damage.
Centre Dale Copley only lasted 17 minutes before his night was over, failing an HIA after copping a shoulder on the chin while making a tackle.
Winger Phillip Sami was also hampered by an ankle injury, and Shannon Boyd failed to finish the match because of injury.
The scoreboard was wounding for Titans fans, but the injury toll was like a handful of salt looking ahead to next weekend’s engagement with the high-flying Storm.
The Titans were never really in the game, despite vowing to avenge the poor showing in their last start against Manly.
There were plenty of solid individual performances – notably from the usual suspects like Jarrod Wallace, AJ Brimson and Brian Kelly – but the Gold Coast never looked cohesive as a team and rarely extended the Panthers’ defence.
The Titans trailed 14-2 at halftime after the Panthers pulled the trigger on back-to-back tries in the 29th and 37th minute.
Before that, the Gold Coast had done well to keep themselves in the contest after being starved of possession in the first 20 minutes and burning through a lot of fuel keeping Penrith at bay.
The loss of Copley after a HIA in the 17th minute didn’t help the Titans’ cause, with a reshuffle seeing Bryce Cartwright moving into the centres as cover.
It took a charge-down from Wallace to finally get the Titans into attacking territory, with the new Gold Coast lock doing terrifically well to regain possession and get his team a rare opportunity.
Penrith spoiled the chance, allowing Tyrone Roberts to slot a penalty goal and square the scoreboard at 2-2 in the 18th minute.
The Titans looked set to break through, with Brimson, Kelly and Moe Fotuaika all getting close to the line, only to be turned away by Penrith’s defence.
PANTHERS 24 (Dylan Edwards 2, Brian To’o 2 tries; James Maloney 4 goals) defeated TITANS 2 (Tyrone Roberts goal) at Panthers Stadium, Sydney.