Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
The Gold Coast Titans had seemingly all but cemented themselves to last place on the NRL ladder with a big loss to the Melbourne Storm two weeks ago.
Justin Holbrook’s side was poor as the Storm defeated them 32-14.
Worse yet, the 15th-placed Wests Tigers only lost by four points in a low-scoring game with the Newcastle Knights.
However, when it seems one of these two teams has all but secured the wooden spoon they find a way to swap places as the Titans have found themselves off the bottom of the ladder for the first time in three weeks after a huge upset victory against the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 44-24.
This of course means the Tigers are once again at the bottom of the pack and must also be considered favourites for the wooden spoon.
On Saturday night Brett Kimmorley’s side travelled to Tamworth to be beaten convincingly by the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks.
Cronulla ran out 36-12 winners with the Tigers making 13 errors and missing 40 tackles with the club desperate for this season to be over so they can start fresh under Tim Sheens in 2023.
Sheens is already facing issues ahead of taking over as head coach next year as star signing Isaiah Papali’i may no longer be joining the club as he wanted to play under former coach Michael Maguire.
Papali’i opened up on the situation in an interview with Nine News.
“Obviously people ask me about it, just even on the street or family and friends are hitting me up but that’s kind of for my manager look after and even if I don’t stay here or I do go next year, I want to make sure that this year has no regrets,” said Papalii.
“When I did sign it was talking to Madge — he’s an awesome coach.
“That rattled the cage a bit and I guess you have to have those conversations and I guess that was a massive factor for me.”
Over the next three weeks the Tigers must win at least one game to avoid the wooden spoon and will find that win hard to come by this weekend against the Sydney Roosters.