The St George Illawarra Dragons fell to their third loss of the season on Sunday afternoon away from home, with the Gold Coast Titans snaring a late try to take the chocolates.

The result, a complete reversal on the last time these sides met in Round 2, saw the Dragons take a late lead, but a win would have only continued to paper over a number of cracks present in the side.

Griffin's side missed a staggering 49 tackles during a performance which the coach described as 'clunky' at both ends of the park during his post game press conference.

"We were a bit clunky all night, a lot of energy and obviously a lot of effort. It was a really tight game of footy, but we gave a lot of penalties, legged them up out of our own end. I think it was 8-2 in the end," Griffin said.

"In attack, we ended up with 18 points, and they scrambled really well, but we didn't execute the way we needed to at vital times with the field position we had.

"We couldn't clean it up once we got to 18-14. That's the bottom line, but I thought we had earnt the right to have the game more in our control by that time."

While the Dragons attack had its own issues, and the question around why Jayden Sullivan was playing NSW Cup will continue to be asked this week after his five-try involvement performance in the reserve grade side's first win of the year, it's defence where the Dragons have struggled the most during Griffin's two and a bit years in charge of the Red V.

NRL Rd 19 - Dragons v Titans

It's common knowledge at this point that Griffin has been asked to reapply for his job if he wants to continue coaching into 2024 and beyond the end of his current contract.

It feels as if the Red V have all but sacked Griffin without actually pulling the band-aid off - another knock on a board who have bungled just about everything since Wayne Bennett left the joint venture at the end of 2011.

This is a side who have played finals just twice since then, and a board who found it reasonable to take up a club option for 2023 on Griffin before a ball had been kicked in 2022, despite a poor first season in charge during 2021.

That poor form continued last year, and is showing no signs of abating this time around, with the Dragons sitting two and three from their first five games of the season.

Worrying signs wouldn't even begin to describe it though, with the club letting in 40 points against local rivals the Cronulla Sharks just a fortnight ago at home in front of more than 15,000 fans.

So frustrated are the club's fan base that the famous old hill at Kogarah - the same hill where fans have stood and cheered on the Red V for decades, including during that famous 11-straight premiership run - was emptying with over 20 minutes to go in that game.

Defence - or a lack thereof - was again a big issue against the Sharks, with Griffin's side struggling to keep out a Nicho Hynes-led Sharks outfit.

They may have only conceded 20 points against the Titans on Sunday afternoon, but it could have, and should have, been a lot more.

The Red V missed a staggering 49 tackles during the game - over one for every two minutes of action - and more than one per set for the Titans.

It's an embarrassing figure, but it's also hardly new information for the Dragons, who sport a non-mobile forward pack in a game that is getting faster and faster.

The problem of course is that they knew all this last year. And the year before that. It's a problem which has just gradually gotten worse throughout Griffin's tenure at the club.

Despite playing one less game than a majority of teams, the Dragons have already made the sixth most-missed tackles this year - 179 in five games.

That followed last year's result where they missed more tackles than any team in the competition by a significant distance.

938 missed tackles for the Dragons last year. The Brisbane Broncos were next with 864, and even the Wests Tigers, who let in 70 points at the end of the season to the Sydney Roosters, only let in 844.

2021 saw the Dragons finish third in the missed tackle stakes when an average per game was spat out.

But their recruitment for this year failed to fix the issues. Ben Murdoch-Masila and Nick Lui-Toso were the only two forwards who joined the club alongside hooker Jacob Liddle.

Neither Murdoch-Masila or Lui-Toso, who was plucked out of the NSW Cup, were going to play the big minute, high tackle efficiency game that the Dragons so desperately needed out of any recruit they ultimately brought to the club.

Instead, it's the status quo for the Dragons, and they were shown up big time on the Coast yesterday, as they have been against the Sharks and Broncos already this season.

Things aren't about to get easier for the Dragons. They travel to play traditional bogey side the Canberra Raiders next week, then the Sydney Roosters await on Anzac Day.

That game seems like it could be a smash up derby this far out given how the Dragons have played and the tackle busting abilities of the likes of James Tedesco and Joseph Manu.

It's clear that whichever way the Dragons go for their next coaching appointment, defence will be the order of business.