Rugby league tosses up mysteries aplenty and there is another one brewing up on the Gold Coast.
The Titans are equal competition leaders after four rounds but hardly any media outlet has been generous in their praise of their achievements, nor those of head coach Neil Henry, who has orchestrated an encouraging and enterprising start to the new season.
Henry’s team was ranked by many as wooden spoon certainties before a ball was kicked but wins over Newcastle, Wests Tigers and Canberra have them riding high after the first month of NRL action.
The Titans’ only loss came in Melbourne, but they were right in the fight for the first 60 minutes.
Henry deserves a serious pat on the back for the way his team has performed. He has prepared the Titans superbly and they are showing that big things can be achieved, despite what the odds-makers and tipsters think.
It is clear his team are hungry for success and that they are prepared to work hard for 80 minutes to achieve it.
I am not predicting anything wild for the Gold Coast in 2016, but I am really enjoying the effort the players are putting in on a weekly basis, and I expect them to stretch the Brisbane Broncos when they meet on Friday.
This effort hasn’t always been the case from Gold Coast teams down through the years, but when the current lot starts the new season at 3 and 1, I expect the electronic and print media to be more generous in praise of their performance.
Nope. Next to nothing. Perhaps it’s unfashionable to say, broadcast or write nice things about the Titans. “They’ll crash and burn – you’ll see.”
I certainly like what I have seen.
New halfback Ash Taylor looks to be a player to really watch as he cuts his teeth in the NRL.
The former Bronco oozes skill and the Titans are fortunate to have him with their young-gun half Kane Elgey sidelined for the entire season.
Taylor has quickly formed a slick combination with ex-Knights man Tyrone Roberts and, as a result, the Titans haven’t been shy in the points-scoring department.
There’s pace aplenty in the back division, with the likes of David Mead, Anthony Don, John Olive, Josh Hoffman and Nene Macdonald, but it is the Gold Coast forwards who have set a solid platform. They compete hard to dominate and ultimately win every ruck with fierce defence, clever off-loads and power running.
Newcomers Dave Shillington, Zeb Taia and Chris McQueen are competing as hard as any forwards in the league. Then you look at spearheads Greg Bird, Ryan James and Agnatius Paasi who have begun 2016 with a bang.
There are other Titans making significant contributions, such as Eddy Pettybourne, Kierran Moseley and Dan Mortimer, while evergreen Luke Douglas is ever-ready to do whatever job is required.
The Titans were dead and buried ten minutes into the second half at Canberra last weekend, but they found a way to get a sniff of victory and kept gnawing away until the resistance was broken.
Henry is widely regarded as an excellent tactician but he is moulding, motivating and encouraging this vastly underrated team to get results in a competition brimming with big names and huge reputations.
He and his team began the year without their main playmaker (Elgey), lost the experience of Nate Myles to Manly and, at the last minute, their try-scoring superstar, James Roberts, walked out to the Broncos.
Over-riding everything was Daly Cherry-Evans’ back-flip back to Manly – a vicious kick to the teeth if ever there was one for a battling club and team in a rebuilding phase.
The Gold Coast collectively deserve a five-star wrap. It’s a mystery why they haven’t got one.
Please accept it today lads, free of charge and agendas, from The Roar.
And go show everyone what you’ve got against the title favourites at Cbus Super Stadium on Friday.