The Titans have been left beaten, battered and bruised after a 20-8 belting from the Dragons at Suncorp Stadium.
Compounding a disastrous loss for the Titans is a massive injury toll that left Gold Coast with only one reserve on the interchange bench for much of the second half and will leave them short on depth for next weekend’s assignment against the Broncos at the same venue.
Corey Thompson’s much anticipated Titans debut turned into a nightmare, with the new fullback taken off the field with concussion after a high tackle in the 24th minute, prematurely ending his first game for his new club.
Dragons winger Jordan Pereira was put on report for the high shot.
Phil Sami (hamstring) and Young Tonumaipea (knee) were the other major casualties, both leaving the field around the 55-minute mark, decimating the Titans’ backline and forcing a major positional reshuffle as the Gold Coast tried to stem the bleeding.
But the damage was done for the Titans well before those two left the field, with the Dragons allowed to fly out to a 14-2 lead in the first half.
Unlike their last game at Suncorp Stadium against the Tigers, there was no miracle comeback for the Titans this time.
Conditions were difficult, with persistent drizzle during the day making things difficult. But errors and an enthusiastic Dragons team made the task even tougher.
It was a shame for the 1930 people into the crowd – the first match played in Queensland since the relaxing of the COVID-19 restrictions around spectators at sporting venues.
The Titans played against the Dragons carrying the memory of Titans fan Tim Watkins, a former player with the Mullumbimby Giants, who tragically lost his life one year ago at the age of 22.
A penalty goal to Dragons fullback Zac Lomax in the shadows of halftime condemned the Titans to a 14-2 deficit at the break, after another opening 40 minutes where they could get little to go right.
The Titans led by two after as many minutes when Ash Taylor drilled a penalty goal after being cleaned up high and late after a kick.
But it was a rare bright spot for the Titans who struggled for territory for much of the first half while the Dragons forwards rampaged down the middle of the field, although prop Jaimin Jolliffe was effective for the Gold Coast after being called into the starting team at the expense of Sam Lisone.
It was a shame for Thompson, who had looked lively with his first few touches as a Titan, and a shame too for Brian Kelly, who moved back to the wing in the reshuffle after proving to be a menace for the Dragons in attack and defence at left centre.
The times the Titans were able to work their way into good field position, they failed to pose any real questions of the Dragons’ defence. Conversely, the visitors were given a free piggy-back into Titans territory with a number of six-again calls going against Gold Coast.
The Titans were able to put some respectability in the scoreboard when Tanah Boyd scored a try with three minutes remaining, but despite a better showing in the second half, it was far too little and much too late.
DRAGONS 20 (Zac Lomax, Mikaele Ravalawa, Jordan Pereira tries; Lomax 4 goals) d TITANS 8 (Tanah Boyd tries; Ash Taylor 2 goals) at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Crowd: 1930.