Titans v Bulldogs: Five Key Points
Speed trumps size, Mead's starring role, and Mbye's remarkable try-saving tackle. The key points to come from the Titans' Round 14 win over the Bulldogs.
Sometimes size doesn't matter
Canterbury fielded the fourth-heaviest side in NRL history against the Titans with their 17 players tipping the scales at 1,767 kilograms according to stats guru David Middleton.
Gold Coast were 136 kilograms lighter than their opposition and made less tackle busts (29 to 18) and fewer overall metres (1,651 to 1,569) than the Bulldogs, but won the battle where it mattered the most – on the scoreboard.
Having to deal with the likes of big boppers Sam Kasiano (122 kilograms), Frank Pritchard, Tim Browne and Greg Eastwood (all 112 kilograms), the Titans had to work even harder when 198-centimetre, 110-kilogram giant Shaun Lane entered the field in the 20th minute to make his NRL debut.
Forwards paving way for the backs
The Titans backline may have scored all 28 of their points but it was off the back of a solid foundation laid by their forward pack.
Stand-in skipper Ryan James led from the front with 124 metres from 14 carries and 41 tackles, while Agnatius Paasi made 112 metres from the bench including two offloads and a try assist.
"James Roberts adds speed out there but I think it's our forwards in the style they're playing which is helping too," Titans coach Neil Henry said.
"They're moving the ball around a little bit and they need to be able to do that and our hookers have been able to play a bit more forward because of that.
"Our outside backs can utilise their speed to find a bit of space on the back of what our forwards do."
Fullback suits David Mead
Mead made only his 12th career start at fullback against the Bulldogs and judging his performance against the 2014 grand finalists he should be playing in that role more often.
With the game locked at 10-all it was a Mead bust through the Bulldogs' defensive line which set up Brad Tighe's try in the 52nd minute.
Filling in at the back due to Josh Hoffman's pre-game move to five-eighth to cover for the injured Kane Elgey, Mead finished with 122 metres, three offloads, one line break and a try assist.
The Port Moresby flyer showed great positioning on kick returns and made a try-saving tackle on Josh Reynolds with the game evenly balanced inside the final 10 minutes.
The 26-year-old has 58 tries from 119 games for the Titans with most of those coming from out on the wing.
Mbye never says die
It might not be as memorable as Scott Sattler's tackle on Todd Byrne in the 2003 Grand Final, but Moses Mbye's run to chase down Titans flyer Brad Tighe was just as important in the context of Sunday's match.
Early in the second half with the Titans leading 16-10, the Bulldogs had the hosts pinned down on their own line on the last tackle.
Deciding to take a chance, James Roberts ran the ball and split the Dogs defence open in a 40-metre run before rifling a pass out Tighe who appeared to have won the race towards the corner post only for Mybe to come storming in to knock the Titans centre into touch and deny what would've been a strong contender for try of the season.
The 21-year-old Queenslander showed great determination to cut down Tighe only inches from the line, further emphasising why the Bulldogs are looking wrap him up on a long-term contract.
"[That chase] was indicative of what he wants to do and indicative of how he plays his footy," Bulldogs coach Des Hasler said.
Mbye is not off contract until the end of 2016 but the Dogs hierarchy want to sign him up amid interest from rival clubs.
Titans compete and complete
No one can question the Titans on-field commitment with two-straight wins handing them a place within the top-eight.
In the perfect response to tumultuous time off the field in recent weeks, Gold Coast were able to produce a highly respectable competition rate of 84 per cent after heading into the Bulldogs match with the worst rate in the competition.
Prior to Round 14 the Titans were only completing 68 per cent of their sets, but managed to get through 36 of 43 sets on Sunday afternoon.
Ball control has been an issue Neil Henry has addressed in recent weeks with the Titans coach pleased with the response from his side.
"We haven’t been a side that has controlled our possession well enough but in the last couple of weeks we have been able to do it to prove we can get a result," he said.
This article first appeared on NRL.com