Titans bowl Manly over in Brookie ambush
GOLD Coast have turned on the attacking football at last, running Manly ragged in a 36-18 upset win at Lottoland that just might get their season back on track.
The entire football department - from staff to players - was under intense pressure leading into the match following the announcement of a mid-year review into the club's operations.
But the Titans hit back at their critics in a spirited performance to notch up just their third win of the season and give the club some breathing room.
It was alarming scenes in the opening half for the Gold Coast side, as Manly ran riot on the back of ill-discipline and costly errors from the Titans.
Titans coach Garth Brennan would have been left ruing some of his players' decisions as they attempted miracle plays to cross the tryline.
Then, trailing 12-10 at half-time, Gold Coast captain Tyrone Roberts stepped up when his club needed him the most.
Roberts was the Titans' best, setting up two tries, making two line breaks and scoring two four-pointers himself.
He also ran for 102m as he carved up Manly's defensive line.
Halves partner and Titans million-dollar man Ash Taylor, meanwhile, is fighting to keep his spot.
Taylor was far too quiet in a crucial match, running the ball on just two occasions - losing the ball on one of them - which meant five-eighth Roberts had to step up in his place.
Someone also forgot to tell the Titans' forward pack that their workhorse Jai Arrow had been ruled out before the match with injury.
The big men had little impact during the game, with young gun Moeaki Fotuaika the only one to step up in Arrow's absence.
The win won't change the decision for a club-wide investigation of the Titans' football operations as they continued to show signs of ill-discipline and a lapse in concentration.
Rugby league legend Mal Meninga has been given the mandate to probe every facet of the Gold Coast's operations, from top to bottom, which should send shivers down several players' spines.
The Titans attempted the miracle plays in the opening minutes of the match and were punished for it.
Manly halfback Kane Elgey terrorised his former club in the opening minutes and reaped the benefits in just the seventh minute by intercepting a lofty pass that led to a try to winger Jorge Taufua to open the scoring.
A Jarrod Wallace knock-on close to the tryline allowed another length-of-the-field try to right winger Reuben Garrick.
A late fightback in the first stanza allowed the Titans to head into half-time trailing by just two points.
The Titans began the second half in much better form and were rewarded with three back-to-back tries, including a Copley hat-trick to take their lead to 26-12 with 20 minutes to go.
Manly managed a late surge through Brad Parker but it wasn't enough as the visitors continued to pile on the points to finish the match victorious.
FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED
1) Titans skipper Tyrone Roberts has given his club some much-needed breathing room as the football department undergoes a mid-year performance review. The crafty five-eighth was able to orchestrate a gritty win over Manly last night, and notched up an impressive four tackle breaks, two line breaks, two try assists and two tries himself.
2) Titans coach Garth Brennan has pulled a masterstroke in getting the best out of Tyrone Peachey and Bryce Cartwright. The former Penrith duo have been below par since their arrival on the Gold Coast but Brennan's move to start them on the bench has done them wonders.
The pair came on towards the end of the first half and spurred on a Titans' try-scoring spree.
3) Ash Taylor needs to find some confidence and get back to his blistering best or risks losing his spot. The Gold Coast's million-dollar man was again quiet during a crucial match, running the ball to the line on just two occasions, knocking the ball on in one of the runs. In comparison, in-form Knights halfback Mitchell Pearce averages 5.3 runs per game.
4) Jarrod Wallace and young gun Moeaki Fotuaika stepped up in the absence of Gold Coast enforcer Jai Arrow. The pair ran for 187m and 193m respectively with five tackle breaks between them. Their effort was the only standout from the Titans' forward pack, who weren't able to build much momentum down the field.
5) Centre Brian Kelly has hit his stride at the Gold Coast since moving to left centre a fortnight ago. Kelly has been one of the Titans' best a dominated last night with two try assists, two tackle breaks and 113 running metres.
GOLD COAST 36 (D Copley 3 T Roberts 2 A Brimson B Cartwright tries A Taylor 4 goals) bt MANLY 18 (R Garrick B Parker J Taufua tries R Garrick 3 goals) at Lottoland. Referee: Matt Cecchin, Phil Henderson. Crowd: 7,465