Titans rain on Trent Barrett's homecoming
From...David Riccio February 21, 2009 11:00pm ..The courier Mail
THE TITANS ruined Trent Barrett's NRL homecoming in Darwin last night with a performance coach John Cartwright has waited almost four months for.
In his first match back after two years spent with Wigan in the English Super League, Barrett's Sharks were left floundering by a Gold Coast outfit that boasted greater size and speed following an off-season makeover.
Cartwright identified the need to increase muscle across his entire squad during the off season and claimed last night the fruits of the players summer slog had paid off.
"I think physically we didn't aim up in a few games last year, so it's good to see that even just to look at us physically we looked comparable to the Sharks," Cartwright said.
"I was happy with combinations so early in the season. As far as signs go, the attitude of our boys was fantastic."
Cartwright's hardline stance over the off-season allowed the Gold Coast to skip out to a 12-nil lead in as many minutes with tries to Luke O'Dwyer and Mark Minichiello.
The fact that three of the Titans first four tries were scored by forwards gave the locals an insight into the Titans' intentions this season.
In comparison to the disjointed Sharks, the Titans – under the guidance of Scott Prince and veteran Mat Rogers – proved much more rescourceful with the football.
The one-sided scoreline failed to extinguish the excitement of Barrett, who last night spoke of his relief surrounding his NRL comeback.
The former Dragons star received a raucous cheer when he emerged from the tunnel in his new colours, but he was handed just two 20-minute quarters by coach Ricky Stuart.
"It was good to get a run under the belt. It's just good to know the feeling again, to do some defence and get through a half," Barrett said. "It's good to get through the first one, clean out the cobwebs. I'm looking forward to playing next week."
In his second 20-minute stint, Barrett grabbed an intercept and a raking 60m kick into the Titans in-goal was evidence of an off-season spent furnishing his skills in preparation for his NRL comeback.
GOLD COAST 40 (O'Dwyer, Minichiello, Delaney, Donnelly, Tonga, Graham, Tagataese tries; Prince 6 goals) d CRONULLA 16 (Snowden, Hughes, Simmons tries; Brown 2 goals).