2014 National Rugby League Premiership
By W D Nicolson - April 7, 2014
That bears repeating...
The GOLD COAST TITANS are 4-1 and sole leaders after 5 Rounds of the 2014 Premiership.
Don't believe it? Check out the Ladder for yourself
Two weeks ago - prior to the tragic injury to Alex McKinnon - www.wdnicolson.com had taken snapshots of all 16 teams through 3 Rounds of the competiiton (we didn't publish them as football took a backseat after the McKinnon injury - though he's now engaged which is FANTASTIC NEWS)... and the Titans' snapshot - 2-1 at the time - read like this.
They've played two ordinary games and one bad game... yet sit at 2-1 because their opponents in the former games - sucked worse than they did. But a win (or in this case two) is a win and it doesn't matter how you win, just as long as you do. Look limited in attack if Albert Kelly or Greg Bird aren't doing something special and that forward pack continues to underwhelm... okay Dave Taylor does. Luke Bailey and Matthew White are doing a great job off the bench mind you. If they beat the Cowboys this week - they might stay in the Top 8 race all season - so important is a 3-1 start to a team like the Titans.
The key sentence there is 'yet sit at 2-1 because their opponents sucked worse than they did' - but here we are after five rounds and the same cannot be said about their past two wins.
They played well to beat the Cowboys on the Gold Coast in Round 4 and even better to beat Melbourne in Melbourne on Sunday.
Pre-Season very few 'pundits' gave them a chance in 2014 but while the footy hasn't been pretty - having 4 wins already is a beautiful thing on the Gold Coast right now.
Like a lot of teams right now - they could be standing around at training lamenting 'we should've won all of our games so far' but for the Titans, the reality is they've 'fallen' (we just wanted to use the pun for the headline people) to the top of the table because they have simply taken their chances in four of the five games they've played so far and earned their record.
The ifs and buts just don't matter when you win, and all they do is waste brain space when you lose.
The Gold Coast forward pack has lifted a gear in the last two weeks, Albert Kelly continues to conjure up magic when his team needs it and Kevin Gordon and David Mead are reminding us all of how good they really are when they get involved. And it's not like they've avoided the injury bug either - Aidan Sezer and Will Zillman have missed time already, yet...
Hey look - now they are on 8 points and currently 'Minor Premiers'.
Sure there are 21 rounds remaining (19 games for the Titans) but they have given themselves a massive shot at September with this 4-1 start. The value of starting at .500 (having as many wins as losses) through the opening two months of the regular season is immense when it comes to qualifying for the Finals - so they could go 0-3 the next three weeks and still be in good September shape.
Credit to John Cartwright and the players for gutsing these wins out - because as Nate Myles said post-match in Melbourne - all that matters is the two points, not how you play to get the two points.
| MVP: Albert Kelly - was a find in 2013 but now he's finding match-winning plays for the Titans almost every week.
| Surprise Packet: Luke Bailey - Just keeps on going like the Energiser Bunny...
| Needs to Lift: Dave Taylor - Got a theory about DT, less you make him defend the less he hurts you in attack...
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