Having soared into the NRL finals race, the stall alarm is sounding on Gold Coast's 2021 NRL season after a fortnight of top-four setbacks.
The Titans, thrashed by South Sydney last weekend to end a three-game winning run, threatened to stun premiership fancies Melbourne on Thursday as they took a 16-12 lead into the halftime break at CBUS Super Stadium.
A four-try blitz by the reigning premiers in the second half quickly quashed any hope of an unlikely upset and has the Titans now nervously looking over their shoulders for the rest of the weekend.
Currently sitting seventh on the ladder, Gold Coast could drop out of the eight by the end of Friday if Canberra can upset a Tom Trbojevic-less Manly at Suncorp Stadium.
By the end of the weekend, the Titans could have plunged as low as 10th if results don't fall their way.
It means next weekend's clash with fellow top-eight hopeful Newcastle looms as pivotal if the Titans are to end a five-year finals drought.
“We've just got to worry about ourselves,” coach Justin Holbrook said.
“We can't control any other game over the weekend.
“We had a great opportunity (on Thursday). If we were good enough to knock them off, it would have put us in a good spot but we weren't good enough.
“Now we've got to get better for next week.”
The Titans will be sweating on the fitness of co-captain Kevin Proctor too after the veteran Kiwi backrower managed just eight minutes against the Storm before injuring his left shoulder.
With Moeaki Fotuaika missing the Storm game as he battles a knee niggle, another key forward being under an injury cloud is the last thing Holbrook needed.
“I think it sort of popped out and went back in,” Holbrook said.
“He's tough. He wanted to get back out there but it wasn't a smart thing for us to do.
“Hopefully, he'll be able to play next week. I'm not too sure yet but good if he could.”
Titans' five-eighth Ash Taylor will also be waiting for the charge sheet from Thursday's game after he was placed on report in the second half after appearing to drop a knee on Storm halfback Nicho Hynes.Internet Explorer Channel Network