Legends roast ‘worst 40 minutes of season’
League legends and Fox commentators Braith Anasta and Steve Roach have unleashed on the Gold Coast Titans, calling their performance against the Sharks on Sunday “embarrassing”.
Coming off back-to-back losses, The Titans travelled to Coffs Harbour with everything to play for.
The side scored the first try but inexplicably gave up the fight from there, failing to match it with 14th-placed Cronulla and eventually succumbing to a 38-10 defeat.
The Sharks have struggled for form since ousting coach John Morris earlier this season, but the Titans had no answers to the side’s onslaught.
Cronulla ran in four tries in 25 minutes during the first forty, putting the contest to bed before it even started.
Boasting a forward pack to rival any of the top-four sides, the Titans prompted an almighty spray from Anasta.
“That’s the worst 40 minutes of the season. It’s embarrassing,” Anasta said.
“They come out here with the best team they’ve had in a long time … it’s a disgrace
“There’s no team in their defence. It’s just selfish decision on the edge
“They’re in a world of pain”.
Former International Steve Roach added: “If you want to be fair dinkum about making the eight, you’ve got to be desperate.
“It’s been a poor effort. They had it all to play for. There’s been hardly a whimper.”
Tino Fa’asuamaleaui was marched from the field on Sunday. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
As auditions go, the move to pair Shaun Johnson and Matt Moylan in the halves was a runaway success as Cronulla belted an insipid Gold Coast 38-10 at Coffs Harbour.
Playing together in the 6 and 7 for only the fourth time, the off-contract duo combined like they’d be alongside each other for years.
Johnson registered one try assist and kicked seven from seven to collect 14 individual points in his 200th game, while Moylan came up with two try assists and 156 run metres.
The Titans were dreadful, twice conceding tries when the Sharks were down to 12 men and losing fullback and Queensland Origin hopeful AJ Brimson to a leg injury during the second half.
It was Cronulla’s most complete performance of the year – built on the back of the Johnson-Moylan show.
Their cohesion is sure to have caught the eye of incoming coach Craig Fitzgibbon, who has indicated he is more than happy to work with the current roster rather than rush to the open market to find a playmaker.
Johnson and Moylan worked both the right and left-hand side of the field, often linking directly to set Cronulla’s outside backs free.
Johnson’s kicking game started badly – his first grubber almost hit the back fence – but he quickly found his rhythm to continually keep Gold Coast on the back foot.
Sharks interim coach Josh Hannay denied the decision to axe premiership-winning halfback Chad Townsend and pair Johnson and Moylan was the work of Fitzgibbon, but there’s no doubt the performance would have given the new boss reason to smile.
“Shaun and Moysa have only played three games together during their time at the Sharks, so it’s not a lot of body of work there for us to judge that combination,” Hannay said.
“I’d like to think they can form a really strong combination.
“The decision was totally up to me and it was hard decision on Chad (Townsend), but I’m really excited about what Shaun and Matt can do moving forward.”
Cronulla have won their last six games against the Titans in a winning run stretching back to 2017.
It’s the Sharks’ first back-to-back wins of 2021.
Not so golden
Gold Coast arrived in Coffs Harbour with designs on entering the top eight.
They departed a beaten and demoralised side after again flattering to deceive.
The Titans led 6-0 early but then gave up 38 unanswered points as their defensive frailties were exposed, not for the first time.
They haven’t kept a side to under 20 points since round five.
Soccer has its Pele and now rugby league can boast a Pele of its own.
Sharks monster Franklin Pele made his NRL entrance five minutes before halftime, immediately putting his 125kg frame to work.
With 32 family members and friends watching from the stands, Pele only played a handful of minutes but didn’t look out of place.
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