No clash of the Titans as Storm subsides - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No clash of the Titans as Storm subsides

By Wayne Heming 09/06/2008 10:26:20 PM Comments (0)

State of Origin dominated post match discussion after the Titans predictably beat a weakened Melbourne 18-0 at Skilled Park.

The Titans led 12-0 at halftime after rookie five-eighth Brad Davis had a hand in the opening two tries.

Winger Ben Jeffery finished the scoring with a spectacular chip-and-chase try in the 64th minute.

The defending NRL premiers have now dropped pre-Origin games to St George Illawarra and the Titans when forced to take the field without some of the game's most dynamic players.

They had 10 players and coach Craig Bellamy locked away in Origin camp.

Assistant coach Stephen Kearney felt his understrength and inexperienced group had performed "wonderfully well" under difficult circumstances.

"I thought we were great defensively. They had plenty of opportunities to put points on us and we had a couple of chances in the first half, we just couldn't finish them off," he said.

"I thought the effort from the lads was wonderful.

"It's a real positive and I'm sure those younger guys that stepped in will be better for it."

The Titans has three players on Origin duty, Scott Prince, Ashley Harrison and Anthony Laffranchi.

But they had the depth in former Origin and Test forwards Luke Bailey and Brad Meyers and dual international Mat Rogers to cover their absence at home where they remain unbeaten in seven games.

Titans coach John Cartwright was relieved to get the two competition points from a game everybody said they couldn't lose.

"I know they had a lot of players out but they're still the defending premiers," said Cartwright.

"They still had four internationals out there.

"It was a dangerous game because everyone was saying we were going to win and they were going to lose.

"You don't like playing in those games." Most of the talk however focused on whether it was time for rugby league to bite the bullet and suspend club games and play Origins as stand alone clashes.

Both Kearney and Cartwright said it would be better if Origin could be played as stand alone fixtures.

"We played St George a couple of weeks ago and we had nine (players) out and they had their three best players out and we're playing in a 90,000 capacity stadium and there's about 7,000 there," said Kearney.

"I know it's been spoken about in terms of trying to get the State of Origin in a stand-alone period, but who's being short changed here?

"The fans, and they're our game." Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk, who's played for NSW and Australia, tried to be diplomatic but clearly favoured the idea of Origins being played on a weekend.

"Fans are the part of the game, this is why we play footy," he said.

"People pay a lot of money to be members of clubs and go and watch them play week in week out. There's no doubt Origin and Test is the pinnacle of our game and you want to see the best players play football."

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