Canterbury made a bid for potential coach Cameron Ciraldo in the 36-26 NRL win over the Gold Coast which also promises to ramp up the pressure on Titans coach Justin Holbrook.
Speculation that Penrith’s winning assistant could join the Bulldogs, this week came to a head when he was photographed lunching with one of the club’s patrons.
Coaching the Bulldogs is a much more attractive proposition now that interim coach Mick Potter has them play the offensive brand of football that was on display in their fifth win of the season at CommBank.
Matt Burton and Josh Addo Carr were the chief architects in Sunday’s win, which appears to have sent the Gold Coast into a fight with West Tiger to avoid the wooden spoon.
It was a huge downfall for the Titans, who were one death away from reaching the second week of the finals last year.
The Gold Coast has won only three times in 2022, but needs to win twice more and count on the other losing teams to finish any higher than 15.
They have lost their past eight games to put coach Holbrooke’s future at the club under scrutiny.
The Titans ceded 26 points in the first half and would have been late had the bunker not denied Bulldog’s three attempts.
Canterbury found it easy to penetrate and take advantage of the fragile edges of the Titans; Three of their four first-half attempts came right after the streak was broken on the flanks, and at least all three were involved in Burton or Adu Carr.
In his most memorable, Addo-Carr flirted with the swerve rule by dashing off the Bulldogs goal line, grabbing a interception and running the 95-meter sprint to score.
The Titans threatened to come back in the second half and the more dangerous side looked from close range.
The Bulldogs missed linebacker Jake Averillo (COVID-19) as substitute Declan Casey, in his third NRL appearance, struggled to defuse kick-off matches in the young Gold Coast halves.
But Addo-Carr produced a second interception attempt and regrouped with Burton down the left edge to keep the Titans at bay.
After he put Burton into a header during the Origin brawl, Titans captain Fa’suamaleaui was met with a chorus of boos every time he touched the ball.
Bulldogs forward Cory Waddell could draw scrutiny from the Match Review Committee for targeting him with an alleged eye kick in the first half.
Waddell is included in the report.
The exciting young defender Jayden Campbell made his first appearance since rupturing his hamstring in Round 13 but played limited minutes at the request of the club’s medical staff.
He seemed confident of running the ball after entering in the 48th minute.