GOLD COAST - Once bitten, twice shy. That's the feeling Gold Coast coach John Cartwright has about coming up against a genuine rugby league superstar in Johnathan Thurston this Saturday.
The Titans were humbled by Parramatta fullback Jarryd Hayne last weekend, with the NSW and Australia star scoring two tries in a match-winning effort at CBUS Super Stadium.
And Cartwright says North Queensland half Thurston is just as capable of exploiting any space and time the Titans give him in this weekend's crucial clash in Townsville.
"He's a freakish player," Cartwright said.
"We had one last week we didn't handle all that well. We'll do our homework on him and basically we've got to keep him quiet. If he plays well, generally the Cowboys win."
Gold Coast head into the game knowing their hopes of ending a finals drought stretching back to 2010 are fading fast.
The Titans lie 13th on the ladder following the loss to the Eels, just two points behind the seventh-placed Cowboys but with a vastly inferior points differential.
Titans' co-captain Nate Myles says despite the need to turn things around, no-one at the club is panicking just yet.
"We're not looking at numbers at the moment we just know we need to improve," Myles said.