The Titans have been given free lessons in rugby league and resilience by Newcastle, with the Gold Coast crashing to a 38-4 loss to the Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The Knights have endured a week from hell after being pasted last weekend by the Tigers and then having their coach Nathan Brown fall on his sword in controversial circumstances in the days before the clash with the Titans.
Newcastle’s situation was not unfamiliar to the Gold Coast, who went through a similar situation nearly two months ago.
But the Titans are yet to find the redemption they and their fans have been craving, whereas the Knights got their act back together in less than a week.
It was a waste of the momentum created by the Titans the previous week against Melbourne, when the Gold Coast were lauded for their spirit and courage in a loss to the premiership favourites.
On the day Nathan Peats played his 150th NRL game, the Gold Coast unveiled Titan No.150 – with Tanah Boyd making his NRL debut against the Knights.
But the performance and lack of effort from the Titans sullied what should have been special occasions for both players.
Boyd looked at home in the NRL, aside from one unfortunate dropped ball in attacking position, and there is no doubt there are a lot more top-grade appearances in the classy youngster’s future.
Unfortunately the Titans were already down 28-4 by the time Boyd took to the field in the 50th minute, and the Titans needed Jesus Christ sitting alongside him on the interchange bench for Gold Coast fans to even dare to dream about a miracle comeback.
The ability to turn water into wine probably wouldn’t have gone astray in the sheds afterwards either.
Conditions were miserable to start the game, with the Titans forced to run into rain driven by a strong breeze for the first 40 minutes.
Despite this, the Titans started strongly, riding back-to-back penalties down field and making the most of their first opportunity to score out wide through Ryley Jacks after just four minutes.
The Titans created a bit of space down the left side with some good structured play.
Tyrone Peachey let Sam Stone and Brian Kelly through as a double-decoy play, then passed out the back to Jacks who was strong and determined enough to get his way over the line and give the visitors a 4-0 lead.
The Titans looked to have their tails up, forcing more errors from the rusty Knights, but when Mitchell Pearce scored for Newcastle in the 13th minute, there were worrying signs the Titans wheels were starting to fall off.
Two incorrect calls from the referees on stripping penalties, one against Kevin Proctor and another against Michael Gordon, did not help the Titans’ cause, helping the Knights build a stockpile of possession and field position.
The killer blow was undoubtedly the try to Knights centre Hymel Hunt in the 33rd minute.
The Gold Coast had actually been hot on the attack, and surged down the right-hand side of the field through some good work from Kallum Watkins and Jesse Arthars.
But with a Titans try in the making, a last desperate pass from Tyrone Peachey was intercepted by the Knights, who put together some slick passes to scorch 90 metres downfield to score again.
It was heartbreaking for the Titans, who had they scored themselves would have been back in range at 12-10.
Instead, they sank to 18-4 behind – a deficit that blew out to 24-4 when the Knights crossed again three minutes before the break.
KNIGHTS 38 (Mitchell Pearce, Mitchell Barnett, Hymel Hunt, Connor Watson, Bradman Best, Sione Mata’utia, Lachlan Fitzgibbon tries; Mason Lino 5 goals) d TITANS 4 (Ryley Jacks try) at McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle. Crowd:8274