Five key points – Sharks v Titans
It was certainly a difficult night for rugby league and a tough evening for the Sharks, as the Titans outplayed the Cronulla side in conditions that made attractive football next to impossible.
The heavens opened shortly before kick off and the teams splashed and slipped around CBUS Stadium, with the home team in control for most of the night.
The Sharks had their chances, especially in the first half, but when they couldn’t capitalise the Titans grew in confidence and went on with the job in the second period.
It was a disappointing night, leaving the Sharks needing to regroup ahead of a Friday night contest against Souths at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
But what were the key points, the big moments to come from the game last night? Here’s what we think.
1. It’s a game of inches
With the water on the camera and even more water on the field, it was hard to decipher whether of not Gerard Beale managed to get the ball down in the 20th minute for what might have been an opening Sharks try.
Beale slid in and with the referees uncertain as to the grounding sent the decision to the bunker for clarification.
Unfortunately none was clearly visible, the referees had said no try and the four-pointer was disallowed.
Just two minutes later Fa’amanu Brown had a chance to score in a goal line scramble for the ball, water flying and the picture blurred. Again no try.
While not necessarily disputing the decisions of the officials, it again showed rugby league can be a game of inches, with either or both of those tries having the potential to change the course of the game.
2. Queensland, beautiful one day, monsoonal the next
So much for beautiful one day, perfect the next, as the saying used to go, with the Queensland weather turning the match into something of swim meet in the first 40 minutes.
The puddles were ankle deep early in the match when the rain storm turned CBUS Stadium into a swamp, the players slipping and sliding and struggling to stay on their feet, let alone control the football.
But as Paul Gallen said in the post-match press conference, it was the same for both teams and the Gold Coast handled the conditions best.
3. Origin hangover?
No Maloney, three others needing to pick up their chins up after a devastating game three defeat and Valentine Holmes returning but coming back down off an incredible high after scoring three tries for Queensland in the Origin decider.
While not offering it as an excuse, the Gold Coast had three players backing up as well, the Origin hangover may have been in evidence last night.
On the field is one thing, but as coach Shane Flanagan mentioned in post-match media, not having five players training with the team for the best part of six weeks, certainly doesn’t help either.
Flanagan went on to say the Origin period is over, no excuses will be made going forward, but he is looking forward to having a full compliment mid week from now through until the end of the season.
4. The skipper went over and above
Yes it was a disappointing night, a game where the Sharks struggled in the conditions and never managed to get on top of an enthusiastic Gold Coast side, but there was one man who could hold his head high despite the heavy defeat.
Skipper Paul Gallen went over and above the call of duty in an 80-minute performance that again showed his amazing stamina and resilience.
In weather which would have sapped the energy from mere mortals, Gallen managed 80 minutes, carried the ball 23 times, running for 202 metres, while making 51 tackles.
He also orchestrated the Sharks first try, albeit when a win was out of reach, with his offload creating the space for Kurt Capewell to score.
It was a herculean effort from Gallen in a performance that showed why the Sharks are so keen to have him on board again in 2018.
5. Are the Titans a ‘bogey’ team
The Titans have struggled to make an impression in 2017, winning just six games prior to the match last night.
One of those victories however came against the Sharks in round eight when the Titans scored twice late in a 16-12 win.
Last year the Gold Coast may not have beaten the Sharks but they snapped their 15-game winning streak in holding them to an 18-all draw.
Despite the Titans not being one of the finals contenders in 2015 the Sharks only managed a one-point win and a two-point loss in the matches played between the two teams.
After yesterday’s loss the ledger is now eight wins for each team, with one draw in 17 games played.
Are the Gold Coast a bogey team, or for whatever reason are they just very difficult for the Sharks to beat.