Gold Coast Titans coach Des Hasler awkward halves selection after Dolphins shocker

Des Hasler faces one of the most awkward decisions of his long coaching career this week following the Titans’ 30-14 capitulation to the Dolphins on Saturday night.

The Titans got off to a dream start, leading 10-0 after 13 minutes, before falling to pieces and conceding 30 straight points.

Gold Coast’s attack was awful – and halves Tanah Boyd and Kieran Foran have to take much of the blame for that.

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They produced little creativity with the ball and missed 12 tackles between them as the Dolphins charged home to what turned out to be an easy win.

Hasler needs to change his halves – and get AJ Brimson, a talented speedster who is wasted in the centres, closer to the ball.

That means Hasler may have to drop his long-time ally Foran, who at 33 years of age is still a talented player – but his best days are behind him.

An easier option may be relegating Boyd, who is struggling at number seven and could join the growing list of halfbacks to get the chop in the early rounds.

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Either way, changes have to be made or the last-placed Titans will be headed for the wooden spoon.


PNG cult hero Justin Olam is fast proving himself one of the best buys of 2024.

Unwanted by the Storm, Olam is undefeated as a Tiger, winning both his games and scoring three tries along the way.

Olam bagged a double in the upset win over Parramatta on Sunday and his clinical finishing proved the difference between the teams in a tight affair.

He also pulled off several of his trademark hits in defence and has got his career right back on track after being dropped at one stage last season.


The bench is becoming more and more a part of the modern game – as Jack Williams proved emphatically in Sunday’s fightback win by Cronulla over the Raiders.

Canberra flew out of the blocks, leading 18-0 and appearing to have the game at their mercy until Williams turned the tide when he entered the fray.

The big man was the most influential forward on the field, producing an impressive 46-minute stint that included a team-high 176 run metres and 26 tackles.

The Raiders couldn’t handle Williams’ firepower and he helped the injury-hit Sharks to a fine 36-22 win.

A strong ball runner, Williams will be a key man in the Sharks’ quest for a top-four spot in the coming months.


Fortune has favoured the Warriors with the talented Chanel Harris-Tavita deciding to return to rugby league after a ‘gap year’ in 2023.

When the Wahs lost Luke Metcalf through a nasty leg injury early in the game against Newcastle on Sunday, things could have turned sour for the Kiwi team.

But enter Harris-Tavita, the only back on the Warriors’ bench. He fitted seamlessly into Metcalf’s five-eighth spot, scoring one try and laying on another in the Warriors’ grafting 20-12 win.

A talented playmaker who takes some of the heat off Shaun Johnson, Harris-Tavita is set for a long stint at number six and the spot appears in good hands.


Is there a more improved player in the opening month of 2024 than Dragons fullback Tyrell Sloan?

The speedy fullback starred with a two-try performance in the upset 20-12 defeat of Manly on Saturday night, taking his tally to six touchdowns in just four games.

Along the way, he clearly out-pointed Manly superstar Tom Trbojevic, who had an error-filled game like many of his teammates.

Sloan looks to have gained both weight and confidence in the off-season and is a different player from the one who struggled to hold down a top-grade spot in 2023.


Tristan Sailor put himself in the NRL shop window with an eye-catching display in the Broncos’ 38-12 demolition of the Cowboys in a one-sided Queensland derby.

Sailor is signed to the Broncos until the end of 2025 but the son of club legend Wendell showed he is simply too good to be a fill-in for Reece Walsh for the next 18 months.

Rival clubs are certain to show interest in Sailor after he gave his best performance in the top grade to date at Suncorp.

Sailor was safe in defence and under the high ball, had 179 run metres and four tackle breaks in a highly impressive display.

But as good as Sailor was, he knows he will drop straight back to Q Cup or the bench when Walsh returns – and that’s why he needs to find himself a new home for 2025.


The Cowboys’ Achilles heel was revealed in Friday night’s big loss to the Broncos.

After starting the season in perfect style in the opening three rounds, the Cowboys came undone in monsoon-like rain at Suncorp Stadium.

It took the Cowboys’ record in rain-affected games to seven losses from their last eight – and with winter coming that’s a major concern for coach Todd Payten.

His side loves playing free-flowing open footy and that becomes a high-risk style when the heavens open.

The Cowboys couldn’t get their game working in the wet on Good Friday night, making plenty of unforced errors, and may have to re-think their tactics in slippery conditions in future.


Star recruit Jack Wighton justified his hefty off-season move to Souths by leading the Rabbitohs to a gritty 20-16 win over a stubborn Bulldogs side on Good Friday.

Wighton’s finishing power – he bagged two tries and ran for 131 metres – proved the difference between the two out-of-form teams.

The game was crucial for the Bunnies – had they lost four straight the pressure vice would have moved to breaking point.

To put it in perspective, the last time Souths made the finals after losing their first four games was 1957 – the year Slim Dusty won his first gold record for ‘A Pub With No Beer’.

It’s been a long time between drinks since then… thus the importance of the Rabbitohs getting off their duck egg on Good Friday.


Sam Walker and Luke Keary are as good as any halfback combination in the NRL on their day, but they are being targetted by rival clubs in defence.

The pair missed 10 tackles between them in the 22-16 loss to the Panthers on Thursday night.

Both are brave little men who are happy to put their bodies on the line.

But close to the tryline, they find it too hard to stop hulking forwards 20 to 30 kilos heavier than them.

The Panthers’ big men were simply too hot to handle and – even without the great Nathan Cleary – they pounded the Roosters into submission.

Cleary’s replacement Brad Schneider, back from a stint in England, had a fine debut for the club and showed he will be a capable backup for the State of Origin star in the coming months.