Win and stay in the finals hunt, lose and well, let’s not even go there.
That is the equation for the 12th placed Gold Coast Titans as they head to Penrith to take on the 9th placed Panthers on their home deck.
If the Titans are serious about playing finals in 2017, they will win.
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Coming off the back of an inspired 30-10 thrashing of last year’s premiers Cronulla, the Titans must arrest their infamous consistency issues and string back to back victories together.
Especially against Penrith, who sit one game and a decent amount of for and against above them on the ladder.
It’s a 4pt game in every respect, but instead of getting excited about the high intensity levels the must-win Titans will play with this weekend, fans are holding their collective breath.
These games are exactly the kind that the Titans have dropped in recent seasons.
Must-win, should win, don’t win.
With no Trent Merrin for Penrith, the Titans have been given a big boost – but perhaps even a more telling decision for coach Neil Henry will be who wears the #6 jersey come kickoff.
The decision whether to retain Tyrone Roberts or to bring Kane Elgey back in from a sternum injury has potentially huge ramifications for the club.
No doubting Roberts and halfback Ash Taylor played well last weekend – Taylor even said as much in the media through the week that he prefers Roberts’ ad-lib style.
But Elgey is the future and, should he fix up his occasional defensive deficiencies, could easily be the games’ best playmaker.
If he is fit but forced to come back through the Tweed Seagulls, Roberts would want to tear up Pepper Stadium like never before.
If the Titans return from Penrith without Elgey AND premiership points, seeds of discontent could begin to take root inside the mind of a young playmaker playing second grade who can’t get into a team who can’t make finals.
Conversely, rushing Elgey back in at the expense of a winning halves combination, whether he plays well or not, could also send the wrong message.
That’s why coaches are paid the big bucks I guess.
Whichever 17 takes the field on Saturday for the Titans, they must reward their selection with a season-best performance.
They simply must get the win.
James and Wallace must dominate, Taylor must execute, and the Hayne Plane must take off.
It’s time for the Titans to turn their consistency issues around and begin to win the games they must.
Their season depends on it.