Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles vs Gold Coast Titans: Five things we learned

The Gold Coast have pulled off an incredible turnaround to defeat Manly at Lottoland, despite the best effort of the Trbojevic brothers. 

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Here's five things we learned from the bizarre encounter:

1. Titanic Turnaround


Despite scoring the opening try through Anthony Don, the Titans were completely dominated by Manly in the first half of this match. By half-time, Manly had run over 500 meters more than the Gold Coast and lead 22-6 just seconds from halftime. A try just on halftime to Alexander Brimson kept the Titans within reach at 22-10 at the break. 

What happened next was one of Rugby League wonderfully bizarre moments, the entire momentum changed and the Titans scored with their first touch in the second half. They ran in a further five tries in the second half before a late try to Manly. The score finished at 42-34, despite the 16 point Manly lead, whatever Garth Brennan said to the Titans at halftime worked an absolute wonder.

2. Trbojevic brothers are Manly's best

While it may be Daly Cherry-Evans that cashes in the big bucks, the Trbojevic brothers are the absolute heart of this Manly team. Despite the 30th minute try to Joel Thompson, the Trbojevic boys scored every other Manly try between them, with Tom earning himself a hat-trick and Jake a double. 

Tom Trbojevic absolutely tore the Titans to pieces in the opening exchanges, wreaking havoc on both sides of the ground, he finished with 207 run meters, four linebreaks, and a try assist for his brother. Jake on the other hand, topped the tackle count with 42 and was involved in everything all night. These boys are the future of Manly and without them Manly may have been embarrassed tonight.

3. AJ Brimson is a star

Remember the name Alexander "AJ" Brimson. Just 13 games into his NRL career he continues to wow spectators with his attitude and natural ability. After coming up with a host of try-saving tackles late in the first half, Brimson burned the Manly defense to score a late try that ultimately kept the Titans in the game at the break. 

His second half was just as good, he involved himself in attack and defense and score another fantastic solo try, in which he brought back the vintage kick and chase to score. This guy is a special kid, and the Titans have a headache in regards to their fullback position, Brimson has been too good to lose his spot, but incumbent Michael Gordon doesn't deserve to lose his jersey either. Over to you Garth Brennan.


4. Distractions hurt Manly

The narrative of the entire week for Manly was how they would react to the intense and ongoing speculation around their head coach, Trent Barrett. Any worries about the controversy affecting the playing group was looking quashed in the first half, but following the break Manly fell to pieces. While the Titans deserve credit for their second half, Manly were, without doubt, lacklustre in the second 40 minutes. Perhaps a sign that they have lost faith in their exiting coach, as they didn't follow Barrett's instructions to close out what should have been a Manly win. With matches against top eight hopefuls the Tigers and Broncos to come in the final couple of rounds, Manly will have to improve their commitment if they are to win again in 2018.

5. Ash Taylor returned to his best

Ash Taylor has had an up and down season in 2018, however, showed what he was capable of against Manly. With the Titans on the ropes early he came up with a classy 40/20 which lead to the Titans first try. He came up with a couple of forced goal-line drop outs, a try-assist and a nice try backing up his five-eighth. Taylor stepped up with the boot as well, slotting seven from eight goals in the absence of Michael Gordon. It's no secret that when Taylor plays good, so do the Titans, and if Taylor can continue this form to finish the year, this game might not be the Titans last win for the  2018 season

What did you takeaway from the Titan's big win at Lottoland? Let us know in the comments below.