A post-Origin mood swing is driving Gold Coast towards an NRL finals berth, as the Titans moved into the top eight with a 34-6 thrashing of last-placed Canterbury on Monday.
The Titans backed up last weekend's win over St George Illawarra with Brian Kelly scoring a double in a six-tries-to-one humbling of the Bulldogs at an empty Suncorp Stadium in a rescheduled match due to Queensland's COVID outbreak.
The win lifts Gold Coast into the eight for the first time since Round 11 as they look to end a five-year wait for playoff football.
State of Origin representatives Moeaki Fotuaika, AJ Brimson, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and David Fifita all played leading roles in the win while off-contract half Ash Taylor was inspirational, scoring one try and setting up another in an all-action display.
"We had a lot of young guys that played Origin so once that sort of finished out we can really get on with the back end of the year," Titans coach Justin Holbrook said.
"I just felt a real change a couple of weeks ago and everybody's training harder or lifting their standards or working harder.
"We've got some good memories of the good run that we had last year and a lot of similarities about it this year.
"We've just got to keep being adaptable to whatever happens, change of game, change of venue and all that and be accountable for how we play. We did a great job of that tonight."
The Titans were made to work hard for their points in the first half before quickfire tries to Esan Marsters and Kelly opened up a 16-0 lead at the break.
From there the confidence of the Titans came through as they dominated the second-half opening up a 34-0 lead before a late Bailey Biondi-Odo effort ensured the Bulldogs avoided being held scoreless for the fifth time this season.
"I thought we were our own worst enemy," Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett said with his side guilty of basic errors in promising positions throughout the match.
"A lot of ill-discipline, errors; gave them too much footy, not good.
"We've got a few blokes in there who need to have a good look at themselves."
Adding to Canterbury's misery, Jack Hetherington was placed on report late in the second-half for a high shot which could be a concern for the front-rower given his poor history with the judiciary.
Gold Coast will look to consolidate their position in the eight when they take on struggling North Queensland next weekend while Canterbury face Wests Tigers.
Australian Associated Press