Coast?s Titans gallant in defeat
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
THE nickname of the new NRL franchise may be the Titans but in the build up to Saturday night's NRL trial at the BCU International Stadium, the Gold Coast team were considered to be nothing more than a team David's facing a Melbourne team which could be described as one of the competition's Goliath's.
Undaunted by the size of their task, the Titans never took a backwards step in their first ever official trial against last year's grand finalists.
The team of virtual no-names that Titans coach John Cartwright named stood up to their highly fancied opponents and after an hour of football, there were mutterings in the crowd that maybe an upset was on the cards as the Titans trailed by only six points and the Storm error count continued to build as they squandered opportunities.
Alas the Titans ran out of stones they could sling at their big reputation adversaries and in the final 20 minutes big name Storm players the ilk of Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk applied the after burners to score four tries to run out to a 32-6 victory. A scoreline which flattered Melbourne and by no means did justice to the effort put in by the Titans rookie line-up.
Cartwright knew that his team would need a miracle of biblical proportions to grab an unlikely victory and was a contented man after the match despite the late scoreline blow out.
"It was always going to be tough for the guys out on the field especially with the ball in hand because we've had four or five sessions together in total," he said.
"We've had a very physical off-season in the gym and with the conditioning and I think that showed, they went the distance.
"The scoreline got a little bit away from us in the end but to be 12-6 down with 20 minutes to go against what was their top side, we took a lot of positives out of it."
Most attention for the night centred around two things. The move of Storm international Greg Inglis to the pivot and whether Steve Turner would receive any retribution from an upset Titans camp.
Neither really eventuated.
Turner was hit heavily in the opening tackle of the night but as far as fireworks was concerned, the most seen were after the match as part of some late night entertainment.
Inglis was quiet in the new position and only got involved on a few occasions. He was switched to fullback in the latter stages of the first half and was rested after halftime.
"I just have to adapt more into playing the role. I've been playing in the centres all my life, but I just have to get in there and get my hands on the ball," the former Bowraville junior said.
"I'm used to running off Hilly (Scott Hill) and Cooper (Cronk), but I have to get used to directing the play. I have to get in there and be more dominant."