Titans v Sharks: Five key points

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Updated: July 16, 2017

The Gold Coast Titans stunned the Cronulla Sharks in tough conditions at Cbus Super Stadium. Here are five talking points from the Round 19 Telstra Premiership clash.

Titans find halves combination to stick with

Gold Coast Titans coach Neil Henry has conceded that Tyrone Roberts has probably done enough to retain the No.6 jersey for the foreseeable future after he and Ashley Taylor engineered the Titans’ 30-10 win over Cronulla on Saturday night.

Taylor delivered his best game of the season in awful conditions, scoring two tries himself and setting up two others in addition to providing a judicious kicking game to slow the contest down when his team needed it.

He has spoken openly about the confidence he gains from having Roberts in the halves alongside him and Henry said with Kane Elgey’s return from a sternum injury still uncertain, that the position is Roberts’ for the time being.

“I’d have to say on face value yes but we’ll wait and see,” Henry said when asked if Roberts had done enough to remain in the halves.

“I’m not sure when Kane’s right but I wouldn’t discount Kane. He needs to get through some solid contact at training.

“He [Roberts] has got a good pass and he took the line on a couple of times as well and a good kicking game. Kane does the same thing when he’s on the park.

“It’s fortunate that we’ve got three guys for those two positions.”

Sharks flounder in the big wet

As the sequel to ‘Sharknado’ from two years ago played out on the Gold Coast in the first half you’d have thought the Sharks would have revelled in the atrocious conditions but a mountain of possession may have actually hindered their chances.

Players such as Kevin Proctor told NRL.com that the rain was so heavy in the first half that he had trouble even seeing which may in some part explain why despite 60 per cent of possession the Sharks couldn’t register any points in the first half.

They got across the line on three separate occasions but were unable to finish it off, coach Shane Flanagan conceding that it might have been the wrong time to have so much ball.

“It was tough,” Flanagan said. “Neither side was going anywhere and it was a kick try and then a one-on-one miss in that first half.

“It was hard to get metres and hard to play football in that first half.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much water on a field than in that first half. It drained well in the second half but it was tough in that first half.”

Titans tackle like their season depends on it

The Titans’ position of 14th on the ladder going into Round 19 was reflective of their defensive efforts so far this season but for the third week in succession they kept a team to less than 15 points to provide the foundation for a third straight win.

Under siege in the first half, Titans players kept throwing themselves at any Sharks player who looked like getting across the try-line and kept the defending premiers scoreless until eight minutes from full-time.

“The commitment to get to the ball was very, very good which shows a real desperation in our defence and you need that otherwise there’s a couple of tries that could have been scored,” Henry said.

“That commitment across the park is something that we’ve talked about, something we did for large parts of the Dragons game and we needed to back that up after a week off.”

Proctor’s positive influence grows

It has been a disrupted start to Kevin Proctor’s life as a Titan but the former Storm forward showed just why he was viewed as such a valuable acquisition with his finest performance for the club on Saturday night.

Now four games back from the four-game suspension imposed by the club, Proctor ran for 147 metres and made 37 tackles, and in 11 games for the club has been a part of six victories.

His combination with Ash Taylor and Konrad Hurrell on the Titans’ right edge has become a major trump card for the team and his influence on those around him continues to grow.

“Kevvie had probably one of his better games and he brings that pretty much every week,” said Titans captain Ryan James.

“He brings great talk and great leadership and he’s good to play with.

“[His confidence] took a bit of a knock but he’s a pretty confident guy and once he starts playing footy he leads with his actions.

“When he’s playing great footy we all love to be around him. He’s just one of those players you want to play with.”

Missing Maloney no excuse for Sharks

Sharks coach Shane Flanagan was toying with resting five-eighth James Maloney after an arduous State of Origin campaign but when he was troubled by a neck injury in the wake of Origin III Flanagan had no issue resting him from the Titans game.

Maloney’s absence and a virus suffered by Luke Lewis during the week forced a reshuffle of the Cronulla side prior to kick off but Flanagan refused to use either as an excuse for their performance.

“Jimmy plays, Superman plays tonight, we don’t win,” was Flanagan’s frank assessment.

“He had a bad neck. Couldn’t move his head really yesterday. We were probably erring on the side of resting him anyway but that’s not anything to do with the result tonight.

“We didn’t build a game. Last week against the Roosters we built a game and the Titans built a game today. It took a while and then points came in a flurry and that’s what it’s about.”

With Maloney out Jack Bird moved to five-eighth but he too failed to finish the match due to a sternum injury that Flanagan is confident is not too serious.

“‘Birdy’ just got a whack after he passed the ball for the Kurt Capewell try and had a sternum problem,” Flanagan said.

“We’ll get some scans [on Sunday] but nothing real major I don’t think.”

This article first appeared on NRL.com

Source: http://www.titans.com.au/news/2017/07/16/titans_v_sharks_five.html





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