Emotional Titans captain Tino Fa’asuamaleaui has taken full responsibility for his side’s loss, including admitting he wasn’t sure of the rules when he mishandled a kickoff crucial.
“Just stupid,” said coach Justin Holbrook after recounting a series of blunders during their embarrassing collapse against rivals Brisbane.
The decision to go for a short kick-off when he was still up 14 points was particularly surprising, and Fa’asuamaleaui took the blame.
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“I stocked up. Jamayne wanted to go long, and I thought there was an opportunity to go short,” he told reporters.
“I didn’t understand the rule of going over 10 and where to catch it and then I missed the tackle. I raised my hand for it, dropped the boys and failed them.”
Fa’asuamaleaui said he didn’t realize the ball could be caught as soon as it traveled 10 yards, even though it was still in the air – saying he thought he had to let the ball bounce before picking it up.
Instead, Brisbane pounced and had their second try in as many minutes.
“I didn’t understand the rule,” he admitted.
“In no time they’re under the posts. I put my hand up for it, it’s unfair to the boys, I let them down.”
The skipper may be a little hard on himself, given his Herculean effort, running over 200 yards in the first half, but that’s scant consolation after another big lost lead.
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“You can always have a good first half, but you have to back it up in the second half.
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“In games like this, when all the boys are looking for their leaders, you have to step in and me in particular, and our management team, we haven’t stepped up tonight,” he told about their performance in the second half.
“It’s a game we could have won, and obviously we let it slip.”
His trainer agreed and was baffled by how another big lead evaporated.
“We were in a great position tonight to win the game, we were in a great position,” Holbrook said.
“We just found a way to throw it away, which is hard to accept.”
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