Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan admits a horror injury toll contributed to what was a disruptive day for the visitors who struggled to gain any momentum in their 35-12 loss to the Penrith Panthers on Sunday.
In a game that was supposed to be built up by the returns of Brennan and former players Bryce Cartwright and Mitch Rein to Penrith, injuries to both sides dampened an otherwise one-sided affair.
Interchange forward Morgan Boyle was ruled out minutes before the clash after suffering a head clash in the warm-up.
Boyle, who had played all five games this Telstra Premiership season, was running a contact drill at the northern end when he collided with teammate Bryce Cartwright and fell to the ground.
He was replaced by Ryan Simpkins but the Titans’ woes continued on the paddock with Nathan Peats leaving the field in the 26th minute with rib cartilage damage.
“He feels like he’s let the team down but these things happen and it was too painful for him,” Brennan said of Peats.
“Losing Morgan Boyle in the warm-up doesn’t help [either]. The Panthers’ pack is a big physical pack. We were down on size a little bit already losing him for Ryan Simpkins.”
The Panthers were able to take advantage of a 12-man defensive line when Peats’ replacement Mitch Rein was down in back play following a head knock to score a four-pointer before half-time.
Things only got worse for the Titans with Ash Taylor coming off for a head injury assessment after heavy contact from Viliame Kikau.
“We were doing a lot of tackling and didn’t have the ball much. Ash probably wasn’t happy with his game today, one of few who wouldn’t be happy with their performance,” Brennan said.
“He’s hard on himself but he’ll learn from that.”
In-form lock Jai Arrow played through back spasms throughout the contest until he was replaced in the 53rd minute.
Dale Copley also left the field late in the game with hamstring tightness as the game was winding down.
“Down a few men at stages, I think they ended up with 13 more sets in the game than us,” Brennan said.
“It’s a tough ask when you’re down on troops to defend against a quality outfit. I was disappointed with the result but wouldn’t say they ran away with it.
“There were a few tries in the second half but we didn’t have a lot of ball to work with. It’s a tough game, if you get a few things go against you.”