Recording just the second hat-trick of his career, it was all about James Roberts earlier today, as the Gold Coast Titans centre wreaked havoc through the Parramatta Eels defensive line.
His speed, deceptiveness and strength were too much for the Eels to handle, as he played a huge part in the Titans surprise 38-16 win away from home.
Surprisingly, the Titans away record (2-1) is so far better than their home record (0-2) and Titans coach Neil Henry cannot explain why that is the case.
“I don’t know, I can’t really pick it,” Henry said.
“[In] our performances at home we’ve been in games, a one-point loss and a two-point loss. We had our opportunities against the Broncos [in Round 5], we had field position there last week so our effort at home’s been tremendous for our three games.
“We were disappointed we went down to play Penrith and got blown away at Carrington Park but we’ve had two tough, good wins away and we’ll take that.”
Ultimately, the second half was the turning point of the match, with the Titans going on a 26-0 run that proved to be too much for the Eels.
The Titans played with fluidity and capitalised on their chances, which included an intercept for Roberts and several strong performances by the majority of their team.
With Pirtek Stadium usually a fortress, the loss was the Eels first at home since a loss to Souths in July of last season.
The unforced errors, bad reads and lazy tackle attempts cost the Eels in every way, with the Titans applying the pressure and the Eels unable to deal with it.
There was one bonus for the Eels, though, with Danny Wicks scoring his first NRL try since 2009 when he barged over from close range.
Eels coach Brad Arthur said that his side still lacks the patience as a group and that the basic fundamentals are letting them down.
“We went in at half-time as probably false leaders, we were only completing at 59 per cent and had to do more tackles. It just takes its toll on us in the second half,” he said.
“Yeah, we want to play some football, but some of the errors we made are simple fundamentals and we’re putting ourselves under too much pressure.
“It’s pass selection; you can’t be passing to a person that’s not in a better position than yourself. At times we’ve just got to be patient, take the tackle and build for it. We’re in a hurry to get things done.”
As for the man of the hour, Titans centre James Roberts, he admits that at times, he was a bit lucky.
“I’ve just got to read the play I guess, just pushing up with the boys and trying to shut the play down,” Roberts said.
Player of the Game:
3. James Roberts
2. David Taylor
1. Chris Sandow
Gold Coast Titans 38 (Roberts 3, Taylor, Zillman, Mead tries; Sezer) defeated Parramatta Eels 16 (Wicks, Robinson, Hopoate tries, Sandow 2 goals) at Pirtek Stadium. Crowd: 11,136. Half-time: Eels 16-12. On report: Ryan James.