Titans coach Justin Holbrook blamed his side’s “dumb errors” in a 46-6 thumping from Parramatta that the Gold Coast mentor compared to a “ball work” session for the Eels.
Holbrook got his first real taste for how tough life really will be trying to rebuild the Titans as he watched a tight 14-6 half-time deficit descend into utter chaos with five tries in the final 24 minutes of the game.
Proving it will take more than a coaching change for some leopards at the Titans to change their spots, Holbrook sat back and watched as handling errors and silly penalties conspired to crush the spirit of his team.
Prop Jarrod Wallace was among the worst offenders. He was involved in the tackle that conceded a penalty after the Eels first try, handing Parramatta field position that let them score back-to-back tries and skip to a 12-0 lead in just nine minutes.
The Queensland Origin prop then came up with the crucial dropped ball on just the third tackle in the 56th minute after the Titans had spent about 15 minutes defending their own line midway through the second half.
A few tackles later Eels five-eighth Dylan Brown stepped his way over and the avalanche of tries began.
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Holbrook knows the coach-killers are his team’s worst enemy and while Wallace was by no-means the lone perpetrator, the coach’s greatest challenge on the Gold Coast will be finding a way to get those bad habits out of his entire team in order for them to become a serious contender again.
“It’s individual concentration on what their job is and sticking to that,” Holbrook said.
“That’s what we need to look at as an individual and then collectively as a team.
“Just talking to a few guys in the staff, we defended our line for 15 minutes in the second half and that could’ve been a real positive. But if you get the ball back and drop it straight away you can’t keep doing that.
“Parramatta have way too many good players out there, they were just running ball work in that second half and we paid the price for it.
“In the end the last 20 minutes we were running on empty and it got away from us.
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“We just have to work harder as a group. We had a good week at training but from when we finished training to the start of the game there is something missing there.
“We have to look at ourselves as a group and be ready to go hopefully next week.”
It was a night when nothing seemed to go right for the Titans.
Skipper Kevin Proctor (hamstring) was ruled out before kick-off and when Dale Copley scored their only try he was crunched in the ribs late by Nathan Brown and could not play on.
Five-eighth Tyrone Roberts injured his ankle in the first half and although he returned late in the game, the Titans had several players out of position for almost the entire game.
“(The injuries) made it hard, it’s no excuse but it does make it hard when you lose your captain in the warm up, you lose a winger to foul play and we were shuffling blokes everywhere,” Holbrook said.
“We did a great job hanging in there at half-time … but in the end it was our dumb errors that made it escalate out of control.”