Roosters do it the hard way yet again
For what has been the case for the last few weeks, the Roosters put together a sloppy performance where they won in spite of their numerous mistakes. Their execution wasn’t sharp and it was evident early on that they hadn’t approached this match with the proper killer instinct they needed to. 15 errors and a 68% completion rate told the story for another week. A few tries were disallowed and one was bombed but ultimately it wasn’t the kind of ruthless performance a Top 4 team should be putting in to prepare for the finals.
With the Roosters expected by all to demolish the Titans, they probably believed their own hype. Coach Robinson will need to give them a flogging at training if they’re to produce a massive turn-around for their match against the Broncos next week.
Titans valiant in defeat
Having been battered from pillar to post in the last few weeks and not having scored a try in the first half since Round 20, it was to be expected the Titans were predicted to be massacred.
In what was a complete shock yet somehow hardly surprising at the same time, the Titans put in one of their most spirited and hard fought performances of the year. They started the game with all the momentum. They took a short kick-off from the opening siren and played with tactics akin to a team coached by the Walker Brothers.
It was clear they were playing like a team with nothing to lose where all the pressure of victory was on the Roosters. Their defence held out the team coming 2nd for most of the second half and only a few late tries prevented the Titans from recording one of the most monumental wins in the club’s history.
Given the circumstances and the roster they had, it’s a performance most Titans fans would came away proud of.
Titans future looking brighter
With a horror season of injuries and disappointment now over for them, there were a lot of bright signs for the future with the Titans young guns putting in big performances. Ash Taylor did a superb job to lead his team around that was close to approaching reserve grade quality. His kicking game was great, he controlled the game well and set up Kevin Proctor for a try with a grubber. It was telling that once he left the field for a HIA, the team started to crumble.
In the middle, young forwards like Max King stood up in a big way with the 17 gamer playing the first 80 minute game of his career for 142m gained and 52 tackles made. Keegan Hipgrave played out 52 minutes in his first grade debut and handled himself well. With players like Ryan James and Jarrod Wallace missing, their unfancied forward pack took on the challenge of matching it with the Roosters forwards and almost won.
Even Jarryd Hayne was putting in and playing for the team although a few mistakes late in the game gave the Roosters at shot at changing the momentum. With the arrival of experienced forwards like Brenton Lawrence next year and young guns of the future like Jai Arrow, the Titans can hope they can start building for a better 2018 hopefully with a healthy roster.
The Roosters will not win the premiership
For a team that will claim 2nd position on the ladder outright, they hardly look like a team that will pose much of a threat during the finals. They’ve been inconsistent all year and are lucky to find themselves as high as they are, with their 11th win of the season by 6 points or less. It was a stat like that saw them finish 15th in 2016. While it is an indicator that they can win the close ones, it’s also a sign they’re unable to really stamp their authority on matches.
It’s not entirely impossible for the Roosters to challenge for the premiership. If they play to their absolute best for the full 80 minutes then they are a team that can match it with the Melbourne Storm. The problem is the Roosters have only done that once all year, back in Round 10 against the Eels. Rugby League’s a funny game though and if it takes them until the Grand Final to put another one together then that’s all they need. At the current moment though, Cordner had better start warming up his runner-up speech if they even get that far at all.
In The Sheds
Ash Taylor came off with 15 to go for a HIA assessment. The timing couldn’t have been worse as that was the exact moment they needed him to close out the game.
Morgan Boyle injured his knee in the first half and didn’t return.
Ben Nakubuwai was knocked out in a tackle attempt from Zane Tetevano where his arm swung too high. He was cleared of any serious damage but Tetevano went on report. Considering the damage he did to Will Hopoate earlier in the year, one might wonder how reformed Tetevano really is.
Sydney Roosters- 20
Tries: Latrell Mitchell (8m), Michael Gordon (70m), Boyd Cordner (76m)
Goals: Michael Gordon 4/4
Gold Coast Titans- 16
Tries: Leivaha Pulu (22m), Anthony Don (45m), Kevin Proctor (60m)
Goals: Ash Taylor 2/3