Titans’ $3.5m signing bombs in record Broncos loss
The Titans did a hatchet job on their big-money recruit David Fifita as the Broncos superstar copped a stinging reality check in Brisbane's 18-6 derby defeat at Cbus Super Stadium.
Facing the Titans for the first time since inking a $3.5 million deal to join the club next season, Fifita was well contained by a pumped-up Gold Coast pack which showed no mercy for their future teammate.
The Broncos were banking on Fifita to carve up the Coast in a bid to impress his future club but it was the Titans who flexed their muscle to claim bragging rights over their marquee signing.
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Underscoring the power shift between the clubs, the Titans claimed their second consecutive win over the Broncos, who crashed to their ninth straight loss - the worst losing streak in Brisbane's 32-year history.
The Broncos started well, striking first when Darius Boyd crossed in the seventh minute, but the Titans gradually took control and belted Brisbane in midfield to leave Big Brother in wooden-spoon territory.
Fifita was by no means poor. He amassed 150 metres, three offloads and one tackle bust, including the powerful 35th-minute charge in which he beat Ash Taylor and carried three Titans over the tryline, only to lose the ball as he was about to score.
But Taylor exacted revenge in the 44th minute, exposing Fifita's lazy defence when he sliced through inside his own 20-metre zone in the lead-up to a superb Titans try which gave the Coast a crucial 18-6 lead.
Premiership-winning coach Phil Gould took to social media to lash Fifita for his jumper grab on a night where the Coast were sharper and hungrier as the Broncos slumped to their 15th loss in 16 games.
"A lot of teams are doing their homework on Dave, leading early and getting in his face," Broncos interim coach Peter Gentle said.
"The Titans can't rely on him to be a one-man team (next year), defences are getting up on him.
"There are areas on Dave's game we are working on."
Brisbane's freefall this season has been so dramatic that the Titans have usurped the Broncos as Queensland's No.1 team.
Last night's clash was an emphatic snapshot of the two clubs. The Titans are on the rise, while the Broncos' $52 million empire is in ruins. A banner in the stands read: "Broncos Qld's Shame." Ouch.
Corey Oates is in danger of losing his Queensland Origin jumper. It's been a turbulent season for a number of Broncos players and Oates has endured the worst campaign of his career.
The lanky winger had a nightmare first half, making four errors inside 30 minutes, including his failure to defuse a Jamal Fogarty cross-field kick which led to Sam Stone's 24th minute try to give the Titans a 12-6 lead.
NO SIX APPEAL
Sean O'Sullivan should be dropped as Brisbane five-eighth for Friday night's away clash against Parramatta. O'Sullivan is simply not an NRL standard player and he was totally outclassed by Titans pivot Taylor.
The halves were the difference at Robina. While Titans duo Taylor and Jamal Fogarty were slick, O'Sullivan and Tom Dearden never clicked.
TITANS 18 (Rein, Stone, Tonumaipea & Goals: Taylor 3/3) BRONCOS 6 (Tries: Boyd & Goals: Staggs 1/1) at Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast.
Originally published as Titans' $3.5m signing bombs in record Broncos loss