2021 was supposed to be the year Gold Coast arrived as an NRL force.
The big-money recruitment of powerhouse forward David Fifita and a promising finish to the 2020 campaign had hopes high the Titans would be the big improvers of the competition.
Instead, with seven matches to play, the Titans are outside the top eight and on track for the worst defensive record in the club's history.
Last weekend's 26-8 defeat to Parramatta means Gold Coast have conceded 468 points in 17 matches in 2021.
That's an average of 27.5 points conceded per game, worse than the Titans' wooden-spoon campaign in 2019 when they conceded a club record 651 points (27.1 per game).
It's a depressing statistic for a team many felt was an outside shot at a top-four finish at the start of the season.
The round 16 44-6 win over Canberra was one of just two games this year where the Titans have held their opponents to less than 10 points.
"We know that we can score plenty of points but it's stopping those tries that we're obviously still trying to perfect," experienced winger Corey Thompson said.
"We're working our hardest each week and in some of those games we've struggled to put in the effort that we were doing all week.
"We showed against the Raiders that we can defend. When we went down to 12, we played well and we scored points and stopped Canberra from scoring.
"On the weekend we slipped back into those poor effort areas in defence.
"We've worked hard again this week to try and get back to the defensive team we want to be."
Despite their indifferent form, the Titans are still a good chance of making their first finals campaign since 2016.
Justin Holbrook's team lie just two points outside the eight and face seventh-placed St George Illawarra in a massive game for both teams.
"It's a very clogged up ladder and if we can if we can play well and get the win this week it'll do us wonders," Thompson said.
"We'll just keep building and hopefully finish the year strong and push for that top eight."
Australian Associated Press