Young was on the cusp of dragging the Red V to within two points of arch-rivals Cronulla, in eighth place, but now has little hope of lifting the Dragons to a miraculous finals appearance.
“It pisses me off to be honest,” Young said. “I know they’re trying, but you don’t get two points for trying in this game. You’ve got to get your job done.
“They’re all capable of doing their job and, in the end, we didn’t get our job done. That’s why we’re sitting down there pretty shattered and that’s why the Titans are singing their team song.”
Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook celebrated his three-year contract extension by watching his players claw their way to one of the most improbable wins of the season, backed by a mountain of defensive work on their own line.
St George Illawarra looked set to prolong interest in the finals picture by another week when Zac Lomax’s penalty goal handed them a 10-4 buffer, which they held until the final minutes.
Asked about the possibility of dumping senior stars to prepare for 2021, Young said: “Monday, I will have a pretty good idea of the team. In the end, the Red V deserves everything. I’m going to try to pick a side that’s going to go out and win each week.
“I think everyone can see we’re competing hard, but we come up with three focus points each week and at the moment we’re not getting the job done. Against Brisbane we only got one of the three and just scraped home. Tonight we got zero out of three.
“The three focus points were; [AJ] Brimson, knowing where he is at all times, having our ‘D’ line connected and defending their kicks. They’re three of their strengths and they got a try off a kick which hit the post, you can call it what you want, and Brimson had two line breaks.”
Lomax’s penalty goal was the only scoring play of a tryless first half, which saw Titans prop Keegan Hipgrave and Dragons second-rower Jacob Host both placed on report. Lomax will also come under match review scrutiny for a lifting tackle in the second half.
The half-time scoreline said as much about the Titans’ starch under Holbrook as the Dragons’ attack, which seemed anchored in the Gold Coast red zone for much of the period but couldn’t find a way through.
St George Illawarra’s rookie No.7 Adam Clune was within touching distance of his first NRL try only to spill the ball under desperate pressure from Hipgrave. It was as close as they would come.
And after Host and Phillip Sami traded early second-half tries, the Titans found something when they had no right to.
“Whoever we put out there was desperate to play,” Holbrook said. “I want us to be proud of our performance and proud of our club.
“We want to win as many games as we can and that’s the best way to do it. It shows players how hard you’ve got to work.
“The guys are exhausted down there, but that’s what it takes to win. The pleasing thing for me as a coach is we ask so much of them and they delivered. We want them to enjoy it and be ready to go again.”
GOLD COAST TITANS 14 (Phillip Sami, Tyrone Peachey, Jamal Fogarty tries; Fogarty goal) defeated ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS 10 (Jacob Host try; Zac Lomax 3 goals) at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium. Referee: Henry Perenara.
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Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.