Ivan Cleary called it a capitulation of his side, going as far to calling his side’s performance a ‘self-mutilation’, after the Panthers threw away golden opportunities to defeat an injury-hit Gold Coast Titans side at Skilled Park yesterday.
Despite the Titans win though, they will face concerns over the fitness of both Beau Champion (ankle) and Greg Bird (pectoral), after both went off during the game and failed to return.
Despite also losing Matt Srama with a shoulder injury (he later returned however), Titans coach John Cartwright was pleased with the way his side defended.
“The pleasing thing was the defence,” Cartwright said.
“We forced errors into them, that was the key.”
Heading into the game, Cleary was forced to make a large number of changes to his line-up, with Josh Mansour, Travis Burns, Luke Lewis and Sam McKendry all ruled out prior to the game.
“Wow, I didn’t expect a performance like that,” Cleary said.
“We could probably reach out for some excuses and we did have some disruptions but it was a bit of an exercise in self-mutilation for us.
“There was lots of effort but if you’re providing a blueprint to win a football game, we didn’t get anywhere near it.”
Initially set to play for Penrith’s feeder side Windsor, fullback Lachlan Coote was called up to the side in light of Mansour’s injury, but had a game that hey may want to forget.
It was the Titans lesser-known players who stood up, with five-eighth Aidan Sezer scoring a double, and interchange forward Luke O’Dwyer winning the man-of-the-match award.
“The confidence is quite high at the moment and the self-belief is certainly there,” Titans skipper Scott Prince said.
“It just looks like everyone’s really enjoying themselves and it makes life easy for the halves.”