If a year is along time in footy, the past 12 months seem more like an eternity for the Gold Coast Titans.
The Titans ended round six last year sitting on top of the NRL ladder with five wins and one loss an optimism was running high.
As the club prepares for Saturday’s round six fixture against Parramatta the story could hardly be more different.
On the field the Titans have won just five of their last 23 fixtures since reaching the league’s summit in 2014, including just one solitary victory at home.
Off it, the club has sacked foundation coach John Cartwright, become mired in player behaviour issues, undergone a rushed takeover by the NRL and been forced to stand down four players for a month after they were issued with drug charges and faced a Queensland court.
Heading into this week’s away clash with the Eels, the Titans have just one win from five starts in 2015 and that was a victory pinched in the dying seconds against Cronulla with an intercept try.
NSW and Australia representative Greg Bird, one of the four Titans players facing cocaine supply charges, admits the downturn on-field has been stark but he insists if can be reversed.
“We’re not doing a lot different,” Bird told AAP.
“We’re finding ourselves in these gritty games. We’re probably not playing as consistent over the 80 minutes as we were last year.
“There’s a fine line between winning by two and losing by two and unfortunately we’ve been on the wrong side of it this year.”
Last year’s strong start was built on the back of winning tight contests.
Four of the five wins were by six points or less, while this year the Titans have lost twice at home in the dying seconds to Wests Tigers and Newcastle, results which Bird knows could easily have gone his team’s way.
“There’s no reason why we can’t turn that around and get a bit of confidence and learn how to win again,” he said.
“Get that feeling and when the game comes down the crunch, make sure we’re putting ourselves in the right positions with the ball and then without the ball.
“Against the Knights, we should have won that game. We’d ground out that game right to the end and fell asleep in the last couple of minutes and Jeremy Smith dives over to score a try and that’s another loss for us.
“We just need to be a lot more consistent and I’m sure the results will start turning in our favour.”
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
Record after round 6 2014 – Won 5, lost 1, position 1st
Record after round 5 2015 – won 1, lost 4, position 15th
* Titans have won five matches since rd 6 last year
* Only one win at home in that time (Rd 26, 2014 – bt Canterbury 19-18)