Titans crash Tim Sheens' Tigers homecoming
Gold Coast have crashed Tim Sheens' Leichhardt Oval homecoming, toppling Wests Tigers 22-10 and spoiling any hopes of a bright start to the joint-venture's new era.
The Titans, also desperate to turn things around after a lacklustre 2022, looked an improved side as they made the most of their chances with David Fifita leading the way.
The only concerns for coach Justin Holbrook are a knee injury to Kieran Foran, while prop Tino Fa'asuamaleaui was placed on report for a high shot.
Foran will be sent for scans on Monday, but the club fear a PCL injury which would consign him to a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
After being one of the stories of the summer following a string of big-name recruits, the Tigers were cheered in the warm-up and given a standing ovation onto the field by the 14,667 fans at Leichhardt.
They had the first points through a penalty goal when Gold Coast put a line dropout out on the full, earned two more penalties before the Titans touched the ball and had all the early running.
Then Daine Laurie made an error in attack, and it was back to the same old frustration for Tigers fans, who later began filing out of the famous old ground with 10 minutes to go.
Adam Doueihi offered some signs of promise for the club, as he broke through to score a try in the second half and went to the line to set up another.
But any hopes of a recovery to give Sheens his first win at the club since August 2012 were cruelled by the Tigers' own sloppiness.
"I don't think they won it as much as we probably lost it by way of some of our fundamental errors," Sheens said.
"We had great patches of defence, but there were just little things here and there that went away from us.
"But I saw enough signs there to look forward to next week."
It came after a frustrating first half, in which they had 26 play-the-balls on the Titans' line but could not cross for a try.
Gold Coast, in comparison, had three tackles inside the Tigers' 20-metre zone and led 12-2 at the break.
The visitors' first try came when Foran put Fifta through a hole on halfway and Phillip Sami loomed up in support to finish the job.
With questions lingering over his future amid an approach from Brisbane, Fifita appeared to relish playing alongside Foran and finished the night with 162 metres and five tackle busts.
Sami scored the Titans' next when he won the race to an Alexander Brimson grubber kick, before Sam McIntyre made it 18-2 after the break when the Tigers let a Tanah Boyd bomb bounce.
Any hopes the Tigers had of getting back into the match at 18-10 were extinguished when Brimson scored off a superb Jayden Campbell ball after a scrum.
"We didn't have attacking opportunities through the game, but geez we defended well," Holbrook said.
"It was a really tough win.
"It's full credit to the players and staff for the area they have worked so hard in, and we got tested as good as we could for round one."