Nothing about Sloan is slow as speedy full-back Dragons fires past lackluster Titans

After the first half hour at Kogarah on Sunday night, it looked like St George Illawarra was in for a long season and Anthony Griffin was lucky to get through half of it.

The last team to play that year, after getting the first bye and having to wait until the final game of Round 2, started the duel with the Titans like they were stuck in the offseason.

Spurred on by the speed of full-back Tyrell Sloan and the all-around skill of captain Ben Hunt, the Dragons not only went from a 12-point deficit with 10 minutes before the break, but also scored three tries to go six at the break to lead.

And they carried that momentum through the second half to outclass and outplay an uninspiring Gold Coast team 32-18.

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 12: Jack Bird of the Dragons is tackled during the NRL Second Round game between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Gold Coast Titans at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on March 12, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

jack bird (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Sloan deserves a longer shot at the full-back

Sloan looked like his confidence had been shot at the end of Charity Shield when South’s opponent Latrell Mitchell had to cheer him up after the game.

After joining and mostly retiring from the NRL team last year and requesting an off-season release, the talented prospect got his first crack at the No. 1 jersey as Cody Ramsey (ulcerative colitis) was out until 2024 .

He started the duel with the Titans looking indecisive, especially under high ball when he ricocheted off a bomb.

Sometimes you really need the bounce of the ball to make your way.

And with that potential disaster averted, he turned the tide for his team when they were down 12-0 with one dart from the dummy half with 10 minutes to go at half-time.

Sloan pushed off defense and set up Jacob Liddle in an unchallenged run to the line to score in the former Wests Tigers’ club debut.

It wasn’t just the shot in the arm that Sloan needed, but the Dragons literally started breathing fire with a gang tackle, sending Kieran Foran back into the goal area, then Ben Hunt landed and Mikaele Ravalawa did it right in front of the Half time siren equal .

Not the phantom species heard roaring in the night sky around Kogarah Way.

And when Hunt made the Gold Coast defense think and fall behind a few minutes after halftime, Sloan charged from the back and sprinted over for a well-deserved try.

Sloan was dropped after just three rounds last year after a tough night in the rain against the Sharks.

The 20-year-old is a star of the future so surely this time Griffin will be showing more patience with the former NSW U18 representative, even if the young savage sits out occasionally.

Young five-eighth junior Amone has a chance to return against the Broncos next Saturday in Brisbane after his clean-shooting stand-down ban was lifted during the week, while veteran forward Jack de Belin (Wade) hopes to be fit too be.

No excuse for the collapse of the titans

Gold Coast showed great courage to outlast the Wests Tigers at the Leichhardt Oval in Round 1.

They looked like building on that after an impressive first half hour in Kogarah, but then their defense went haywire.

And after conceding 26 points in a row in the next half hour – marked by the half-time break – they ran sideways in attack, their passing was sluggish and their shooting was abysmal.

Gold Coast will make their first appearance at the Cbus Super Stadium next Saturday against Melbourne. If they ever want to start filling this stadium or fill it halfway, they can’t afford performances like this.

Finding touch can’t be that hard

When it comes to rugby league fundamentals, it is as fundamental as finding contact after a penalty kick.

The Titans failed twice. Once is terrible, twice is inexcusable.

The entire momentum of the penalty kick vanishes instantly and should become an attacking set to a deflated defensive line.

Tanah Boyd has done well skipping Toby Sexton and Jayden Campbell to secure a place in the starting half alongside Kieran Foran, but he will be sent back to bench service duties or the Queensland Cup if he does so again. Nothing about Sloan is slow as speedy full-back Dragons fires past lackluster Titans

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