Gold Coast (5-7) = After some big off-season buys, the Titans (who finished 2020 with five straight wins and narrowly missed the eight) were favoured to make the finals. Halfway through 2021, the Titans are just outside the eight. While they’ve looked brilliant at times, they’ve also had some bad losses. Yes, they’re a lot better than the last few seasons, they’re not quite the force that some expected. They’ve had strong wins against Brisbane (round two), North Queensland, and Newcastle. This has been offset by disappointing losses to the NZ Warriors, South Sydney, Brisbane (round eight), and Penrith. The round eight loss at Lang Park was a massive letdown: the Titans raced to a 22-0 lead after 15 minutes and looked like winning by 100! Nearly 50 minutes later, they trailed 36-22, and while David Fifita tried to will them back into the game, it was too late. The Titans have a nasty stretch from rounds 13 to 15 (Melbourne, the Sydney Roosters, Manly Warringah); then they play Parramatta in round 18, Souths in round 22, and the Storm again in round 23. Based on that run home, they’ll do well to finish in the top eight.