AAP Rugby

Testing times for Titans coach Brennan

By AAP Newswire

Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan admits he's feeling the heat as he seeks a response from his struggling side in Saturday's NRL clash with Canterbury.

The Titans have lost three straight games to be 2-7 - one loss away from the club's worst ever start - in a season that began with hopes of an NRL finals return.

The Bulldogs (2-7) must win to avoid their worst start since 1964 while the Titans will be without prop Shannon Boyd (concussion), who joined fullback Michael Gordon on the sidelines as a late out on Friday.

Last Thursday's loss to Cronulla, after leading at half-time, led Brennan to describe parts of their game as dumb and mentally soft.

The second-year mentor played down that spray on Friday but said he'd been happy with the response this week.

"I don't think it was overly harsh; obviously I used the word dumb but that was more in relation to moments," he said.

"They aren't a dumb football side, they're a smart football side, they understand what they need to do and how to get better."

The Titans beat Newcastle a month ago and have since lost from winning positions against Wests Tigers, North Queensland and the Sharks.

"Yeah it's been tough, frustrating more than anything because we've been in every game," Brennan said.

"We haven't had any real touch-ups, we've been in the fight but haven't had that 80-minute performance."

Boyd will be replaced by Jai Whitbread while AJ Brimson will shift to fullback to replace Michael Gordon.

Tyrone Roberts also returns to the halves and Brennan hopes that helps the side deal better with the swings and roundabouts that have knocked them around in recent weeks.

"When that momentum comes, and it does every week, it's how you deal with it," he said.

"Having experienced heads out there to do that (in key positions) is the key."

STATS THAT MATTER

* Only three teams in history have made the finals after starting a season with two wins or less through 10 games.

* These two teams are conceding the most post-contact metres, while the Titans are making the least metres and post-contact metres.

* The Titans have scored just three of their 26 tries through the centre of the field this season, the fewest and lowest percentage of any team.