Written off as likely wooden spoon favourites, Gold Coast are suddenly in sight of a rare NRL finals finish after killing off Parramatta’s season with a 34-14 rout.
But coach Neil Henry is far from satisfied.
Gold Coast are on track to crack the top eight for the first time since 2010 after jumping to seventh with the six-tries-to-three romp in front of 15,273 cbus Super Stadium fans on Saturday night.
The defeat officially ended the besieged Eels’ slim finals hopes.
The Gold Coast may need to win just three of their remaining six games to guarantee a finals berth.
Henry admitted many would be surprised by the Gold Coast’s finals push after being dismissed as no chance by so-called pre-season experts.
But the Titans mentor urged his side to keep the shocks coming.
“Everyone is surprised by our performances, but we’re not,” Henry said ahead of two-straight home games.
“It (finals) is in our own hands. We have fought to be in that head space.
“Now we need to maintain it.”
A finals tilt would cap a remarkable Titans turnaround.
Just last year the NRL took over control of the Titans in a nightmare 12-month period which also included the Daly Cherry-Evans backflip and a cocaine scandal.
“It (turnaround) is on the back of leadership,” Henry said.
“Plus guys we have recruited are getting the job done (and) we’ve handled a bit of adversity with injuries.
“It’s also about winning back fans by playing a brand of football that we are proud of.
“We will keep pushing.”
Their big-name recruits certainly stood up on Saturday.
Chris McQueen bagged a try-scoring double, ex-Warrior Konrad Hurrell ran 182m and scored in his first Titans home game while former Eels rake Nathan Peats notched a game-high 37 tackles.
The only bad news was Titans veteran hooker Nathan Friend (hamstring) leaving the field in the 34th minute.
Ryan Simpkins or Kierran Moseley will replace Friend who is expected to miss a fortnight.
Parramatta’s loss was compounded by injuries to skipper Beau Scott (ankle) and hooker Isaac De Gois (knee).
Scott was ruled out before kick-off.
It capped another tough week for Parramatta in which five-eighth Corey Norman was suspended for eight weeks and fined $20,000 for a string of off-field incidents.
Parramatta were also taken over by a NSW government appointed administrator on Tuesday in the wake of the NRL club’s salary cap scandals which resulted in them being fined $1 million and docked 12 competition points.
But Eels coach Brad Arthur said on Saturday: “We have moved past that.
“There has been a changing of the guard at the club now.
“We have standards and expectations and that is all we can judge ourselves on at the end of the year.”