Sheens still has a long way to go as the Tigers’ new era begins with a loss

Tim Sheen’s return as head coach to the Wests Tigers did not go according to plan as his side felt they were their own worst enemy in Sunday’s 10-22 loss to the Gold Coast Titans in Leichhardt.

“We would have loved to win, and we played well in patches,” Sheens said.

“I don’t think they won it as much as we lost with our fundamental mistakes. We had great defensive spots, but small moments broke them away from us. We just didn’t make it every time and the pressure on the scoreboard was mounting.

“Nevertheless, I saw enough signs there to look forward to next week.”

While the Tigers seemed to have the ball and momentum early on, a penalty was enough to give the home side a 2-0 lead.

The Titans weathered the early storm and the game struck soon after and carried through into the second half. A try by Philip Sami gave the Titans a 12-2 lead.

The Gold Coast then picked up exactly where they left off when ex-Tigers Sam McIntyre crossed just after the break to put his side 18-2 ahead. Minutes later, Adam Doueihi returned to serve and when Daine Laurie scored with 15 minutes to go, Leichhardt supporters were hoping for a miracle now 18-10 behind.

But a ball dropped down the centerline from Laurie put the Titans in perfect field position, and AJ Brimson immediately capitalized on the advantage for a 22-10 lead. The Tigers were desperate to get back into the game, but poor execution let them down and the Titans – and every Queensland side, for that matter – went home with two points this weekend.

It wasn’t a pretty game from either end, but errors and the finish really hurt the home side, finishing just 27 of their 41 sets and committing 14 errors to the Titans’ nine.

Young professionals under the magnifying glass

All eyes were on the new members of each squad, with Tigers fans hoping new recruits Api Koroisau, Isaiah Papali’i and David Klemmer would wreak havoc and score some points, while Titans supporters were eager to see if Kieran Foran and Sam Verrills it was the missing ingredients her spine was desperately looking for.

While Koroisau surprised many by starting on the bench, his impact on the field was immediate. Papali’i and Klemmer made the tough yards, but all three would never find immediate relief and will all need time to settle into their new club.

Verrills and Foran were brilliant. Their experience showed, they showed the titans around well and their influence will be essential to the titans.

Five-eighths Tanah Boyd had one of his best plays, and he will continue to thrive with these two players leading him. Foran left the game early with an injury and the Titans are hoping he’s right to leave as soon as possible.

“He’s not good,” Titans coach Justin Holbrook said after the game.

“We will only know the extent after scans. We know how good he was for us in pre-season so hopefully we’ll get him back quickly.”

Isaiah Papali’i. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

To the left, to the left

Fiita on the left, working with Foran, was just beautiful to watch.

Seeing the backrower on the other side of the field and pairing with the new halfback could just be the start for Fifita to finally become the player we all know he can be.

Fifita was tremendous for the Titans today, running the most yards from each side at 196 along with 58 post-contact yards. He also made 13 hit-ups, four tackle breaks, a line break, and a try assist.

It didn’t take long for Foran to leave the field, but it gave everyone a great glimpse of things to come.

“They had the one training session together and they looked great,” Holbrook said.

“We were really excited about the opportunity he (Fifita) was going to get on that rim. And that first touch he went right through.

“It’ll be a good combination if we get Kieran back quickly.”

Well done Mr Holbrook.

Poor Shawn Blore

This guy can’t take a break.

After being out of the game for the past 18 months following a second ACL injury, this match should be his glorious, long-awaited return.

Unfortunately, the number 18 came back to chase the Tigers’ backrower on Sunday, coming off the field in the 18th minute with an HIA and unable to return for the rest of the game.

Hopefully he’ll get the green light to take his place on the squad against the Knights next week.

Tino Fa’asuamaleaui

That’s it. Nothing more needs to be said. Sheens still has a long way to go as the Tigers' new era begins with a loss

Russell Falcon

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