After a long, hard season, the Gold Coast Titans finally hit rock bottom with a 58-6 drubbing at the hands of the Roosters at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
While there have only been four victories for the Gold Coast this season, they have been able to take some solace from the fact that the Titans had not copped a genuine flogging this season despite all that has gone wrong in 2019.
Before meeting the Roosters, a 24-2 loss to Penrith and the previous weekend’s 34-12 loss to Brisbane had been Gold Coast’s biggest losses of the season.
Given some of the big scores that have been produced in the NRL this season, 22-point losses were hardly disastrous by comparison.
But now, like the rest of this wretched season, that small consolation has been left in tatters after being pummelled by the defending premiers.
The Titans trailed 28-0 at halftime, like they did last weekend against the Broncos.
But unlike in that game, there was no rear-guard action in the second half as the Titans surrendered meekly to be blown away by the Roosters.
A 10-try pounding and 58-6 scoreline was the second-biggest loss in Titans history. It was ugly and it hurt.
A massive injury toll did not help Gold Coast’s chances, with Ryan James, Jai Arrow, Shannon Boyd, Keegan Hipgrave, Tyrone Roberts and AJ Brimson among the first-grade regulars missing at the SCG.
That whopping platoon of walking wounded gained a new recruit yesterday, with Michael Gordon limping from the field in the first half with a hamstring injury.
There were some fragments of positivity.
Ash Taylor made a solid return to the NRL in his first top-grade game since Round 12. Skipper Kevin Proctor and Moeaki Fotuaika tried their hearts out all day.
A deserved 66th minute try to Ryley Jacks got the Titans onto the scoreboard to prevent a to-nil scoreline.
But that was about it, as the Roosters played touch football in the second half, and toyed with the Titans’ defence.
In the early stages of the game, the Gold Coast were given opportunities to get into the game as the Roosters coughed up some uncharacteristic errors.
But the Titans were never able to capitalise, because they would reply with an error of their own to hand possession straight back to the home team.
As has been the case all season, it was the errors that killed the Gold Coast in the first half.
Not only did it stop them from putting any pressure on the Roosters’ defence, they gift-wrapped field position and possession to the defending premiers.
You cannot afford to do that against mediocre teams, let alone one as potent as the Roosters, who thrived on the 58 per cent share of the ball they had to play with.
Simple dropped balls under no pressure, fifth-tackle penalties, not finding touch from penalty kicks, being forced into touch on early tackles and 17 missed tackles in 40 minutes were all on the menu in a damning smorgasbord of errors that allowed the Roosters’ attack to keep feasting.
And feast they did.
James Tedesco grabbed the first try for the afternoon in just the fifth minute when a knock-on from Nathan Peats on the 50-metre line put the Roosters on the attack.
By the 21st minute, Roosters winger Brett Morris had three tries, the Titans trailed 22-0 and the Round 20 horse had bolted.
ROOSTERS 58 (Brett Morris 3, James Tedesco 2, Latrell Mitchell 2, Daniel Tupou, Cooper Cronk, Sam Verrills tries; Mitchell 9 goals) defeated TITANS 6 (Ryley Jacks try; Ash Taylor goal) at the Sydney Cricket Ground.