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Key three: Defensive lapse causes drought to continue

A tough second half against the Knights has prevented the Titans from notching up three wins on the trot, continuing the elusive Newcastle drought that now stretches seven years.

Despite victories in six of the last 10 games against the Novocastrians, the Gold Coast have struggled to leave McDonald Jones Stadium with the two points in hand, last winning at the venue in Round 24, 2016.

Having led 18-12 five minutes into the second stanza, a defensive lapse led to a try-scoring blitz by the home side, racking up 22 points in a 20-minute period, which made the comeback awfully difficult for the Titans in their quest for their sixth win of the season.

Here are the key talking points from the clash:

Hunter Valley hoodoo continues

The tough seven-year Titans drought in Newcastle will remain with the loss to the Knights on Sunday afternoon.

Coming out of the sheds at half-time and scoring first in the second half to take an 18-12 lead, the Gold Coast disappointing let the Knights back into the contest and the home side capitalised, piling on six tries in the final 31 minutes to inflict defeat upon the Titans.

As identified post-match by captain Tino Fa’asuamaleaui on Fox League, the visitors will be ruing their defensive attitude and mindset in the second 40; culminating in 48 missed tackles across the contest, as well as only completing at 69 percent.

“We didn’t turn up in areas we needed to,” he said.

“Us boys need to work harder, especially in our detail and effort areas with kick-pressure, change of pace and inside pressure… I think we lacked that in the second half.”

“That’s why the result is what it is.”

Having not won since Round 24, 2016, the Titans will have to wait another season in an attempt to break the Hunter Valley hoodoo that continues to be tough to crack.

Fifita fires to all but cement starting Maroons jersey

It wasn’t the result David Fifita would’ve hoped for in his 50th Titans appearance but the barnstorming back-rower had a day out in Newcastle despite being on the wrong end of the scoreline.

Ending an impressive 80 minutes with two tries, 222 running metres, four tackle breaks and three offloads, the performance should all but earn the 23-year-old a starting Queensland spot for Game I of the 2023 series, with the team to be announced in eight days’ time.

Billy Slater would've been particularly impressed with Fifita's 90-metre breakaway try to put the Titans back into the contest with 10 minutes to play.

David Fifita shows some real speed

Now averaging 173 running metres in his first 10 games for the Titans, it’s been an incredible rebound from a tough 2022 season with the Gold Coast forward revealing his extreme happiness on and off the field is a huge contributor to his outstanding current form.

Sami deserving of Origin recall

A reinvigorated Phil Sami more than put himself in the shopfront window for Queensland coach Billy Slater with another day out for the Titans against Newcastle.

Getting his chance to wear Maroon in the 2020 series, the Gold Coast star found the line again against the Knights, as well making seven tackle breaks and 118 run metres in the contest as an elusive ball-runner out of yardage.

With a vacant wing spot up for grabs given the PCL injury to incumbent Corey Oates which has put the flyer in doubt for Game I, the 25-year-old is in a prime position to end his representative football hiatus with a trip to Adelaide on May 31.

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.