New Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook did not mince words after his side’s 18-point loss to Canberra, saying they physically did not aim up to start the game.
Jack Wighton scored two soft tries for the Raiders close to the line as the home side jumped out to a 18-0 lead in 29 minutes before running out 24-6 winners.
Some changes to the Titans' structure and a slightly improved defence early in the second half did lift the side back into the contest momentarily.
However, a slew of unforced errors, in particular inside their own half, heaped pressure on to the Titans from which they could not recover.
“We just made some very dumb errors, we threw three forward passes and things that you’d be upset at any level of rugby league let alone the NRL against a grand finalist from last year,” Holbrook said.
“So, we made it hard on ourselves and we looked out of sorts for periods, but we created some good chances in the second half. We just couldn’t get over the line.
“We’ve got to be better than that.”
Tyrone Peachey started the game at centre and moved into the middle, giving the Gold Coast an extra dimension in attack when they needed it the most.
Don pegs one back for the Titans
“He’s a great competitor and a great footy player so no matter where you play him, he’s going to be a threat for us,” Holbrook said of Peachey.
“I thought he looked most likely for us in the second half when he was in the middle of the field.
“We’ve got a lot to improve on and we’ll learn a lot out of tonight, but I guess being down 18-0 it could have been a lot worse.
“We fought our way to get back into the game and we chased the game which is hard to do so we have to start better because we were poor at the start of our trial as well.”
The game at GIO Stadium almost did not go ahead, or was at least in danger of being played behind closed doors, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The fans did turn up despite only getting the go-ahead just before kick-off with 10,610 watching the Raiders triumph.
Holbrook said his side was preparing for business as usual despite the speculation all afternoon before kick-off.
“It’s not ideal for anybody in the world at the moment is it, but it was fine by us,” Holbrook said.
“We had a game to play and as I said it’s not good for anybody, but we were ready to play.”
Wighton scores early for Canberra
However, Holbrook and the Titans are only focusing on what they can control before next week when they play the Parramatta Eels – that includes their work without the ball.
“I thought we defended well in the second half, in the first half for some reason we just weren’t physically ready and that showed on the scoreboard,” he said.
“The Raiders had everything go their way but they earned that and even though we got back into the game, once they scored that last try it made it hard to come back.”
Holbrook said Tyrone Roberts and Kevin Proctor should be right to play next weekend despite the pair receiving treatment mid-game for shoulder injuries.