Titans first half the new blueprint?

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about playing the Gold Coast last weekend. Eels heavily favoured, missing their best forward and their halfback against a side that can score five tries in 15 minutes.

But Parramatta came out in the first half and put the Titans to the sword early.

Reagan Campbell-Gillard once again led from the front, shouldering the extra workload asked of him without his giant partner in crime.

Dylan Brown stepped in Mitchell Moses' absence and while his kicking game needs some more work it was pleasing to see him get stuck in early on.

However, the most intriguing and impressive aspect of the match, particularly the first half, was the short interchanges of passing used around the ruck.

Nathan Brown was a key part of this. His ball-playing at the line gave our middles an early advantage and as the game wore on we were able to get in behind the marker and pressure the A defenders.

This led to a more condensed defensive line, struggling to get off its line and giving space to our outside men.

Two tries came directly from this pressure.

The first was Dylan Brown's. The quick shift to the right edge got Ryan Matterson one-on-one and the offload came to a waiting Dylan Brown. The Titans had a giant gap in their defensive line and Brown showed the speed those who watched him in the lower grades know he has.

The second was Reed Mahoney's. The diminutive hooker found Nathan Brown who ran a nice line to wards the B defender, forcing him to commit before popping a short ball to Matterson to streak through the hole opened up. Brown supported back through the middle and from there it went through Gutherson and onto the little number nine.

A big part of this is down to Mahoney's dummy half play. He must have been studying Cameron Smith during his time off because he's added this little shimmy which is very Smith-like. He positions his body to go one way, drawing the first marker before firing the ball back across the ruck.

This immediately puts the defence on the back foot as the second marker is usually caught on his heels and a lane is opened up behind the ruck that a guy like Nathan Brown can easily exploit.

These are very simple things, but it's something the side got away from while Mahoney was injured as the ball went sideways too often and too early. 

If this is the way the side is going to play as we run into the business end of the season then I am all for it.

It's a simple but devastating game plan that we have the squad to exploit.

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  • There was clearly a philosophical change in our attack against the Titans. Particularly the first half.  Something that has been desperately needed. I too hope that this is deliberate timing of amping up our attack for the run home.  We look like such a better footy side when we start to ask questions. 
    Prior to Reed, BA was very vocal about the fact that the Eels didn't play from dummy half, relying more on our halves and FB to create. It's fair to say this has completely changed. It all starts with Reed nowadays and it's all about going through the middle third, asking plenty of questions and ball playing between forwards. In this world of 6 again, high scoring RL going through the middle is the name of the game. It's impossible to defend against over the long term as fatigue is simply too great. Almost a Touch Footy approach.
    Bring it on!

  • Great blog mate. I think we have a premiership winning forward pack. I also noticed we play really well when our forwards are in an offloading mood. If our big guys keep this form up we can give this comp a really shake. 

  • Mahoney Mahoney and more Mahoney.

    Thats where it starts and ends the more questions he asks around the ruck the more time it gives his halves against the Melbourne's South's and Penriths he willl be key.

    Korisau Grant Smith Cook and alike are very similar.

    Mahoney is in a great spot right now he has a rampaging middle that he can launch off.

  • Mahoney is so key to our chances of going deep into the finals..

    • It's actually still our middle forwards actually as Mahoney has to make those decisions off of what our middles give him.

  • Good read Super. The more Mahoney develops the better we will look. I've been banging on about us playing too laterally. Dominating the middle with short passes and offloads and we will be the only team capable of beating the Storm come finals time

  • Penrith is the team you need to be able to hold there markers and A defenders.They scream out from thee inside and help there edges big time.

    If you can exploit them at the ruck with a smart dummy half that'll go a long way in exposing them from her inside out.

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