Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook has bemoaned his team’s decision-making at the death after they crashed to a crucial 15-14 loss to Newcastle.
A disappointed Holbrook admitted Thursday night’s loss to the Knights was heartbreaking, with the Titans now facing an uphill battle to return to the finals.
Realistically, they must now beat Warriors in their final game next Sunday, and hope both Canberra and Cronulla drop at least one game each in the final two rounds.
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They will also need to make up some for-and-against ground on Cronulla, who have a Melbourne side in the final round that is almost certain to rest players en masse.
But different permutations were the last thing on Holbrook’s mind on Thursday night.
Instead he was miffed at his team’s set up for a late field goal shot, with the ball thrown so far back to centre Patrick Herbert that he had to take the kick from 40 metres out.
“Patty backs himself a lot so he was always confident in it,” Holbrook said.
“I don’t know why we had to throw it 20 metres backwards for it (though). They are the things we have to get better at and that’s why we didn’t win.”
Herbert’s shot went wide to the right, before Newcastle had their first shot charged down before Mitchell Pearce stepped up and nailed his for the Knights win.
And while Thursday night’s loss was a hammer blow, the Titans only have themselves to blame for the position they are in.
Expected to be the biggest movers of all teams in 2021, Gold Coast have been left to rue poor defensive outputs throughout the season.
They have conceded the most points of any team in the finals hunt, having let in 30 or more points in nine of their 23 games.
Gold Coast have not played in the finals since 2010, while their last win in a finals match was in 2009.
© AAP 2021