Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook said the way his team handled adversity was the difference between their previous four-game losing streak and their 38-point thrashing of Canberra at GIO Stadium on Saturday night.
After their second-half capitulation last start against Manly, the Titans led from the front and never look seriously bothered as they cruised to a 44-6 victory.
Strangely, the turning point in the game came when David Fifita was sin-binned in the 29th minute for a late hit on Raiders’ halfback Sam Williams. Going a man down seemed to bring out the best in the visitors.
The Titans scored three tries while down to 12 players and were never headed.
“It [going down to 12] didn’t help us but we didn’t let it affect us and we’ve been working really hard at things like that, overcoming adversity or changing momentum which we haven’t been able to do well in the past,” Holbrook said.
Match: Raiders v Titans
Round 16 -
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
“We got it right tonight and handled it well tonight as a team and defended well as a team and we had to.
“We’ve been guilty of not handling things well and trying to change things ourselves and today we stuck together, and a number of players played as well as they could.”
Despite having a record of 6-10, the dominant victory puts the Titans within striking distance of the top eight.
That's somewhat surprising given the inconsistent results for Holbrook’s men. They haven't won back-to-back games since round three.
Fifita carries three Raiders over with him
Provided they can find some consistency, the Gold Coast coach knows there remains enough time left for his side to make a charge for the finals.
“It was an extremely important game for us (against Canberra), for us to get the two points and play as well as we did, we had to get a bit of credibility back for our club and our fans and I think we did that tonight.
“Prior to last week (against Manly) we nearly done Melbourne and we nearly beat the Roosters so we were there and we thought we were in a good position against Manly and then we got blown off the park, so it was important for us to come down here tonight and play the way we did.”
The Titans looked set to open the scoring after a break down the left edge ended up with the ball floating from Ash Taylor to an unmarked Corey Thompson on the right wing. But the pass was ruled forward.
Gold Coast didn’t have to wait much longer for points after Fifita carried three Raiders defenders across the line to make it 6-0.
Crucially the Titans defied the loss of Fifita with forwards Kevin Proctor and Moeaki Fotuaika crossing before Jamal Fogarty completed the first half rout, easily holding off Williams to stroll across the line as the visitors took a commanding 22-0 lead into the break.
The Titans enjoyed 62 per cent possession in the opening 40 minutes, generating line breaks and tackle busts at three times the rate of the Raiders.
Fogarty gets outside Willams to score
They continued the rout with a perfect start to the second half, when Brian Kelly collected a nicely weighted grubber to make it a 28-point lead.
As if to sum up the Raiders’ night, Jarrod Croker attempted to bat back a Titans bomb but only managed to keep it in play allowing Proctor to pounce and score his first double since 2015.
Williams broke through finally for the Raiders in the 56th minute, with the halfback running a support line close to the ruck to narrow the Titans’ lead, but only marginally 34-6.
A sensational cut-out pass from Fogarty put Phillip Sami over in the corner and the chances of a Raiders comeback were snuffed out at 40-6. Patrick Herbert scored the Titans' eighth try but few of the 7646 crowd at GIO Stadium were left.