Tigers play for pride to put lack­lus­tre Ti­tans out of fi­nals race

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - TRAVIS MEYN TIGERS TI­TANS WESTS TIGERS

THE fi­nal nail was ham­mered into the Gold Coast’s cof­fin as the Ti­tans bowed out of NRL premier­ship con­tention with an em­bar­rass­ing 26- 4 de­feat to the lowly Wests Tigers last night.

Need­ing to win their re­main­ing six games to book back- to- back play- offs ap­pear­ances, the Ti­tans crum­bled in front of 11,516 at Cbus Su­per Sta­dium.

The 22- point de­feat came against the team run­ning sec­ond- last on the lad­der who have suf­fered through a tu­mul­tuous sea­son fol­low­ing the sack­ing of for­mer coach Ja­son Tay­lor.

The Tigers were play­ing for pride, hav­ing lost nine of their past 10 games, but the fi­nals car­rot dan­gling in front of the Ti­tans should have been enough for the Gold Coast to show some bite.

In­stead they crum­bled, weak de­fence and hap­haz­ard at­tack with lit­tle con­fi­dence see­ing the Gold Coast fall to their sixth de­feat at home this sea­son.

With the Sea Ea­gles ( 26) and Dragons ( 24) at the bot­tom of the top eight, it is likely 30 points will be needed to qual­ify for the fi­nals this sea­son and the most the Gold Coast can now reg­is­ter is 28.

To make mat­ters worse the Ti­tans host ri­vals Bris­bane on Sat­ur­day, a team they have tra­di­tion­ally strug­gled to beat.

With in- form duo Kon­rad Hur­rell and Kevin Proc­tor side­lined with ham­string in­juries the Ti­tans lacked en­ergy, di­rec­tion and hunger.

Coach Neil Henry sur­pris- in­gly made three changes to re­place Hur­rell, mov­ing full­back Jar­ryd Hayne from his favoured po­si­tion and split­ting the suc­cess­ful halves com­bi­na­tion of Ty­rone Roberts and Ash­ley Tay­lor to bring Kane El­gey into the start­ing side.

The Ti­tans’ left- edge de­fence was sus­cep­ti­ble with El­gey back and Wests cen­tre Esan Marsters cap­i­talised in just the third minute.

Pic­ture: SCOTT RAD­FORD- CHISHOLM

AG­GRES­SIVE DRIVE: West­ern Lions player Wade Sailor rips into the Norths de­fence in his team’s TDRL win on Sat­ur­day.

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