Gold Coast have leapfrogged a meek St George Illawarra into the NRL top eight with a 32-12 win at Jubilee Oval.
Bolstered by the return of young halfback Ash Taylor, the Titans ran in six tries to two against the Dragons who looked rudderless and predictable in attack in front of 8256 Friday night fans.
Without halfback Benji Marshall (hamstring) and fullback Josh Dugan (broken jaw), Paul McGregor’s side struggled for points and the loss will surely raise further questions about their finals credentials and poor attacking record.
Titans five-eighth Tyrone Roberts had arguably his best game of the year, setting up two tries and producing a five-star kicking display.
Every member of the Titans back five ran for over 100 metres including MacDonald, who racked up 221m, while Josh Hoffman was outstanding with a try assist and 153m.
Gold Coast were clinical, completing 33 of 39 sets with their control of the football telling in the wash up. By the time the visitors had raced to an 8-0 lead, the Dragons had touched the ball just once.
Neil Henry’s side ran the length of the field to score three times, including MacDonald’s second in the 56th minute after intercepting a looping Gareth Widdop pass on the left edge.
The Titans led 8-0 after seven minutes following MacDonald’s first four-pointer and one to backrower Chris McQueen, as the visitors starved the Dragons of possession and executed almost perfectly in the opening exchanges.
The Dragons got back into it when Kurt Mann stretched out in the 17th minute but they couldn’t maintain their pressure and the Titans ran away with it in the second half.
The Titans have a nervous wait with lock Greg Bird put on report for a high shot on Widdop in the first half.