Titans coach Justin Holbrook wants his team to become the entertainers of the NRL with David Fifita the main beneficiary of the Gold Coast’s licence to thrill with the first hat-trick of his career.
Fifita added yet more brilliance and brute force to his growing NRL highlights reel with a dominant performance to score three tries in the 42-16 mauling of Newcastle, while Corey Thompson and Patrick Herbert bagged doubles and lock Tyrone Peachey was back to his breathtaking best in the eight-tries-to-three win in front of 12,492 fans.
It was a Titans performance that had it all.
Strong defence, stunning offloads, quick hands and a length of the field try from the kick-off in the second half. Jarrod Wallace and AJ Brimson combined with some fancy play for Herbert to complete the try of the year contender.
This is a Titans team that isn’t afraid to throw the ball around. Shifting the play off re-starts, front rowers willing to put each other into gaps and almost every player on the field competing on everything to get in on the try-scoring action.
Match: Titans v Knights
Round 5 -
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Whether this style of play stacks up against the elite teams remains to be seen, but if they’re to be top-four contenders come the end of the season these are the games they need to win at home and win comfortably.
"I wouldn’t say it was easy but I am really happy with the way we are playing," Holbrook said.
"I thought we played some really good footy tonight and did so straight away.
"I think we've got so much strike in our side and that I want us to run out on the field knowing if something presents itself take it. With that comes risk, we finished with a lot of errors again... which is disappointing, but its also gives us plenty of excitement.
"That is the way I want my side to be. I want our side to be excited about playing footy and obviously you have to defend well and we did that.
"I think Penrith play a pretty good style and they’re doing alright. I’m not putting us in their class but I think they showed last night you can still go out and play some footy. For us it's getting the right balance and we're going to work towards that.
"Everyone is a threat out there and that's good."
It was a thoroughly one-sided affair, from the moment Kalyn Ponga’s kick-off sailed out on the full with the Titans scoring within the opening 90 seconds as Peachey set up Kevin Proctor.
While the Knights did manage to bring the scores back to 12-6, Fifita sparked the massacre that was to come with a moment more commonly found in junior footy than the elite NRL.
Fifita simply took a penalty tap 10 metres out and ran straight for the try line. No fancy footwork, just big man picking on small man, in this case Knights five-eighth Connor Watson, to score a try of brute force.
David Fifita scoring a try only he could
It was the start of three tries in 10 minutes for the Titans, with Fifita adding his second in the 32nd minute when he stormed onto a short ball by half Jamal Fogarty before brushing past Ponga.
The Titans had entered the game without any of their halves posting a try assist this season, but by the game’s end both Fogarty and returning five-eighth Ash Taylor had found their mojo to pick apart the injury-ravaged Knights.
Fifita completed his hat-trick early in the second half, where again it was Wallace throwing a sublime one-handed offload for the second rower to this time beat Ponga with speed rather than force to score in the corner.
Fifita marauding his way to a second
Gold Coast’s $1 million man has now produced two stunning performances on his new home ground to end the game with three tries, eight tackle breaks from 11 runs and 144 metres.
"He is a great player and I think we're using well and even when we don't use him well he just makes something happen anyway," Holbrook said.
"It's a good mix when you can get him some good ball or he can take a tap and run like that to score.
"I think there is a lot of improvement in him and he knows that… he is going to get better and I think he is working a lot harder. The more he gets involved and more he keeps himself in the game the better as a side we are going to be.
"It’s about him being consistent week to week, he is going to do that and is doing that for us now."
Not to be outdone, Peachey’s roving role where he floated between lock, centre or wing proved to be just the elixir to get his season firing as he was perhaps the Titans most consistent player across the 80 minutes.
The Titans flying start hit a hurdle when Phillip Sami suffered a heavy head knock from a high tackle by Tyson Frizell, which was put on report.