The Gold Coast Titans suffered a tough road, slipping to last place on the NRLW ladder. (Image: GC Titans/Twitter; Design: Will Cuckson)

After a successful inaugural campaign, the Gold Coast Titans headed into 2022 with confidence. The Titans would have been aiming to do one better in the new season, being lead out by newly appointed coach Karyn Murphy.

A 14-point loss against against the St. George Illawarra Dragons saw the Titans open up their campaign in Round 1, setting up what would be a ultimately disappointing time for the side.

It wasn’t long before the Titans found themselves slipping down the ladder as a results of bitter defeats.

However, they managed to find a win when they went up against the Parramatta Eels. Although the two-point victory later in the season was welcomed by Gold Coast, it wasn’t enough to steer it away from its first wooden spoon.

Finishing position: Sixth (one win, four losses)

Titans at training. (Image: Gold Coast Titans)

What worked?

The Titans’ strength this season was in their defence. Averaging 262.2 per game, they were ranked the second best for tackles.

They were just behind the Dragons, who averaged 264.3 tackles per game.

Titans’ lock Georgia Hale helped with this stat. The 27-year-old was a standout when it came to tackles, making a season high of 50 in Round 2 against the Newcastle Knights. She was ranked the league’s best for tackles averaging 44.2 tackles per game.

Brittany Breayley-Nati also contributed to the Titans’ tackling pressure. The captain was their next best with an average of 29.2 tackles.

What didn’t?

The Gold Coast Titans struggled across the board this season.

However, scoring was a key issue for the side, only managing 11.6 points for per game, and as a result, ranked as sixth in the competition.

They also ranked last for tries made, averaging 2.2 per game.

The worst of this was in Round 3 against the Brisbane Broncos, where the Titans managed just four points from a singular try from Madison Bartlett.

Who impressed?

Titans’ prop Shannon Mato was a standout in 2022.

Her performance on field impressed and saw her earn the NRLW Player of the Year at the club’s annual awards.

The 24-year-old appeared in all five games of the season and was a force to be reckoned with in attack. She averaged 317.3 post contact meters and 15.4 hit ups per game.

Mato also impressed in defence, making 119 tackles with an efficiency of 95.2 per cent.

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Season highlight:

The Titans’ two-point win against the Eels was a high point for the side.

It was the first time that the Titans were able to get on the board for the season, breaking a fairly dismal three-game losing streak.

The team cruised through for much of the game, never letting go of the lead until the end of the final siren.

Lauren Brown had a night to remember at AAMI Park. She finished the game with six points and three conversions. The halfback also put in work defensively, making 15 tackles.

Stephanie Hancock, Jessika Elliston and Mato also contributed strongly on the night, with four points to each of their names.

April Ngatupuna was also unveiled in the game, playing 18 minutes in her debut.

Season lowlight:

Although much of their season could be summed up as disappointing, it would be fair to say that the loss against the Brisbane Broncos was a significant low.

In the 18-point loss, the Titans deflating low saw just Madison Bartlett manage to put any points on the board for her side. The winger’s performance – consisting of a try – was one of the only silver linings in the match.

With the Broncos spending majority of time in possession, it just wasn’t meant to be for the Titans.

The Titans dominated stats they didn’t want – with errors made (14) and penalties conceded (nine), this was one loss that would of left a sour taste for fans.

Top off-season priority:

Currently, there is no clear signs of the player arrival and departures for the next NRLW season.

For Gold Coast, its off-season priority should be focusing on continuing to develop the younger players and build stability among the group.

Whilst the young guns showed potential throughout the season, they were unable to hold up against more experienced NRLW teams. Despite the Titans being ranked third for possessions percentage, averaging 50.0 possessions per game.

The Titans would also need more time to get used to play under the style of their head coach Karyn Murphy. Given that they have had two coaches in their past two seasons, it’ll be ideal for the side to build more stability amongst the playing group.

With the NRLW set to expand to 10 teams in 2023, they’ll hope to retain most of their up and coming talents to keep building the squad.

The continual development of younger players can be a big boost for the team for the new season, if they are to move past a disappointing 2022 season.

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