BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 01: Ash Taylor of the Titans passes the ball during the round four NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp Stadium on April 1, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

A new star was born on Sunday afternoon as Toby Sexton impressed in his NRL debut.

Long touted to have the talent to make it at this level, Sexton was excellent for start to finish as he took helped guide the Titans to a victory over the St George Illawarra Dragons.

Given the Dragons form recently, the 32-10 victory won't be enough to lock Sexton in forever, but it will be enough to potentially give him the rest of the season.

Even with Jamal Fogarty out, Sexton was in everything as the Titans rolled past the hapless Dragons to keep their flailing finals hopes alive.

The victory will move the Titans to 16 competition points, equal with the Newcastle Knights and Cronulla Sharks (at the time of writing, they were about to play the Canterbury Bulldogs), and just two behind the Canberra Raiders.

Even if Cronulla do win, the Gold Coast will still be just four points out of the top eight, and based on Sunday's effort, could still well be in with a chance to play finals footy, with the Dragons themselves seemingly now in danger of missing out. That is even more so the case when you consider how difficult the Red V's run home is.

The point made however, is that the Titans aren't simply in preparation mode for 2022, although could be with another loss or two.

It's time for Justin Holbrook to get deadly serious with his team. They either keep winning and play in the finals as per pre-season expectations, or continue their inconsistent ways and flunk to a bottom eight finish.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 31: Titans Head Coach Justin Holbrook poses during the Gold Coast Titans press conference at The Titans High Performance Centre on October 31, 2019 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Based on Sunday, you'd be hard-pressed to say Sexton isn't a better option than Taylor.

Whatever the case, Holbrook now needs to pick and stick, and with Jamal Fogarty due back next week from his finger issue, D-Day has arrived.

The reason Holbrook must pick and stick? Confidence.

The Titans are youthful, but play on their confidence. Next is the Bulldogs, then the Cowboys. Two games they should win, with both played on the Gold Coast.

Following that, they play the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Melbourne Storm, two games they should realistically lose, but would be a far better chance of getting something out of if they were playing on the back of three straight wins.

And with Ash Taylor's confidence seemingly shot to bits, as well as the controlling influence Fogarty has had, combined with Sexton's performance on Sunday, the halves combination seems to pick itself.

TOBY SEXTON
Halfback
Titans
ROUND 19 STATS
1
Tries
259
Kick Metres
1
Line Breaks

Scoring a try, Sexton proved he has the confidence to play the game as he sees fit, which is something the Titans have lacked over the last 12 months.

He ran for more metres than any of his teammates, outside of Corey Thompson and AJ Brimson, while also adding a try, a couple of tackle breaks, and playing a role in the lead-up to tries, even if he wasn't credited with an assist.

More to that, he had just as many kicking metres as Taylor and despite his enthusiasm and energy, only made a single error.

That shows excellent control over his own game, and while a debut can at times be deceiving, the form Taylor has shown this year doesn't exactly count for much in this conversation.

With Fogarty and Sexton both having excellent running and kicking games, as well as the duo being likely to line up in 2022 for the Titans, starting the combination from now seems like it has more positives attached to it than the potential risk.

JAMAL FOGARTY
Unknown
Titans
2021 SEASON AVG
0.2
Tries
74.7
All Run Metres
20.2
Tackles Made

Based on the fairly large sample size of the entire season, it'd be a major surprise to see Taylor guide his side into the finals.

It's brutal, but that's exactly what Holbrook will have to be when he picks his side for next weekend against Canterbury.

Taylor is a million-dollar man who has simply not lived up to the weight of expectation placed upon him.

It's time for the Titans to go in a different direction in an attempt to qualify for the finals, and playing like they did today, you wouldn't put it completely out of the realm or realism.

Toby Sexton is a star of the future, and his journey has just begun. It's now time to hand him the reigns to the Gold Coast.