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Middle third defence the shining light in Titans' first outing

It’s commonly said if you hold the ball and make your tackles, you’ll win a game of footy.

For the Gold Coast Titans in Sunday’s inaugural NRLW match against the Dragons, there was plenty of inspirational defensive efforts on show, but the new side was let down by their poor completion rate – only finishing 62 percent of sets.

There would've been plenty of nerves in Newcastle with six NRLW debutants and 17 new players representing the club for the first time, and the error-ridden performance can be put down to being just a once-off given the occasion.

Besides an emphasis on ball security, one of the huge takeaways coach Jamie Feeney can extract from the 20-12 loss is the ability for his team to hold their own in the middle third, and the experienced NRLW leader is glad his focus on defence in the pre-season made a huge difference in the result.

Brianna Clark comes up with a big hit

Every forward made 18 or more tackles over the 70 minutes – even those coming off the interchange – and had a tackle efficiency over 85 percent.

Below are some of the top performers in the middle whose efforts in defence made a huge difference:

Brittany Breayley-Nati

The captain led from the front in her first match in blue and gold. Topping the tackle count with 28 tackles, she was an exceptionally busy in the middle and got through a mountain of work in her 49 minutes.

Shannon Mato

The powerful prop polled the most fantasy points, ending the game with 45 and this is due to her 24 tackles at 89 percent efficiency in only 43 minutes on the field. She was also rewarded with a try late in the game.

Georgia Hale

The ever-reliable Kiwi International was given a late chance to start the match and she repaid the faith with her efforts in defence. Hale made 22 tackles at an incredible 96 percent efficiency rate - not missing a tackle in her 34 minutes on the field.

A few notable mentions also go to both back-rowers and Grace Griffin for their performance; with Zara Canfield making 24 tackles at 92 percent, Tazmin Gray 25 tackles at 89 percent and Griffin 20 tackles at 95 percent.

If the Titans improve their ball security and reduce their error rate in the upcoming clash against the Roosters, they'll sure to be a force to be reckoned with after the defensive effort on show.

Acknowledgement of Country

Gold Coast Titans proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.