Caretaker Gold Coast coach Craig Hodges believes incoming mentor Justin Holbrook will want to use the club's remaining four matches to see how Titans players cope with adversity after Saturday's 40-28 loss to St George Illawarra all but handed them the wooden spoon.
The Titans have lost seven consecutive matches and are now six points behind the 14th-placed Dragons, who they play again in round 25 and had hoped to offload the spoon to by beating in both matches.
While Hodges said his team's attack was a step up from last weekend's 58-6 thrashing by Sydney Roosters, he questioned their commitment in defence.
"We had some opportunities, I thought we showed good improvement with the ball compared to the last few weeks but defensively some of the tries the Dragons scored were far too easy for first grade, or probably any grade," Hodges said.
"We scored enough points to win a game in this competition but we conceded enough to lose three games."
Match Highlights: Dragons v Titans
Halfback Ryley Jacks and five-eighth Tyrone Peachey were creative in attack, while fullback AJ Brimson was dangerous every time he got into space and the Titans scored some spectacular tries by shifting the ball.
However, Hodges admitted that the players may be struggling for motivation as they await the arrival of Holbrook after his commitments in Super League with St Helens are finished.
The absence of key players such as halfback Ash Taylor, hooker Nathan Peats, fullback Michael Gordon and prop Ryan James and Shannon Boyd was also disruptive.
"Getting them motivated and focused on a game each week is a challenge in itself and then you are shuffling them around and lack continuity and obviously like every team at the moment there are guys who are playing wounded so you haven't got numbers for training," Hodges said.
"I know they are all poor excuses but they are also reasons we are where we are. At the moment we are literally week to week."
Hodges said he was not involved in making decisions about the Titans roster for next season but expected Holbrook would take a keen interest in how players performed over the next month.
"It is not really about results for us at the moment, it is about performance and the circumstances are tough so it is about seeing who tries to push through that and who doesn't shy away from that," he said.
"You get to see a fair bit about the quality of the person, not just the player at the moment. It is often easy to play well when you are running down hill but we are well and truly running uphill at the moment so we are certainly going to see some of the qualities of the people we have got."