Titans too slick for Cowboys
Sunday 2 June 2013 4:43 PM
Two tries a piece to stand-in skipper William Zillman and halfback Albert Kelly has helped guide the iSelect Gold Coast Titans to a dominant 31-12 win over the North Queensland Cowboys at Skilled Park today.
Despite missing co-captains Nate Myles and Greg Bird along with 80 minute forward Ash Harrison to Origin duties, the Titans dominated the match with the experienced Dave Taylor, Mark Minichiello and Luke Bailey paving the way for the side to go on and notch up back-to-back wins.
The win moves the Titans into fifth spot on the ladder heading into next weekend's bye.
With the platform paved by the forwards, the Titans backs created havoc for the Cowboys defensive line with Zillman, Kelly, and Minichiello all bagging first half tries along with an Aidan Sezer field-goal, giving the Titans a 19-4 half-time lead.
The possession flow swung in the Cowboys favour after the half-time break, but the Titans continued to control the game with some impressive scrambling defence keeping the Cowboys at bay, before Zillman and Kelly bagged their second tries to secure the impressive 31-12 victory.
iSelect Titans coach John Cartwright said he was pleased with his side’s ability to come away with the win despite not putting their best performance together.
“It was a good performance today, but we probably played a little bit patchy again, I think we have some excuses for that, but it’s a sign of a good side when you don’t play so well and win convincingly, that was the pleasing bit today,” Cartwright said.
“They got possession in gluts, we probably turned a little bit of ball over at the end of the game, and I think the penalty count was 11-3 in the second-half.
“We probably made it a little bit difficult for ourselves with some errors, but they got a lot of leg-ups and our boys responded really well.
“It’s a good sign of a team when you’re losing the penalties two-to-one, you’re turning a fair bit of ball over and you still come up with 31 points, and probably could of come up with more and that’s what the good sides do continually.”
Cartwright said it was pleasing the way his senior players stepped up for the missing representative players which will help his side build pressure going into the back half of the season.
“Most players at that level respond to responsibility and they certainly did it today, Albert (Kelly), Zilly (Zillman), Luke Bailey was unbelievable I thought today, for a front-rower he played 75 minutes,'' said Cartwright.
“He (Taylor) played great today, and he played a lot of minutes. Today was probably his best performance for the club, he was error-free, he was a handful every time he touched the ball and defensively he kept working hard when there was a lot coming his way.”
“We’ve been slowly building, the halves are at a stage now where they are starting to know what each other are doing instinctively, the hookers are doing a fantastic job and Zilly won’t say it, but he’s playing better than ive ever seen him, so things are starting together.
"We’ve got a really, really tough run at the back half of the season, so these wins are really important.”
iSelect captain William Zillman said he did feel a bit of extra responsibility captaining the side, but playing off the back of such a strong team eased the pressure.
“Our ball players are really good, Albert and Sezer played well, our back-rowers led well on the edges and it just honestly makers my job easier,” Zillman said.
“Every week I go out and try to play my best footy, but I probably felt a little bit of extra pressure this week, but the boys responded great, Luke Bailey he was great he was a leader as well and it just made it easier for me.
Zillman also praised the team’s youngsters who were called in to fill the void left by the missing Origin players.
“The guys who came into the team, they’ve been training there since November, so they knew their spot in the team, and full credit to them.”
“I’m so proud of those boys who stepped up they came straight in and looked like they’ve played 50 first grade games.
“Shane Gray his debut, and Mark Ioane’s only played one or two games and those kind of guys around the middle for us were sensational today and especially after a few injuries and they had to play some big minutes.”
The Titans meant business from the opening siren, charging-down a Cowboys’ kick to get in good attacking position for Zillman to slice through the line and get the ball down to open the scoring and give the Titans a 6-0 lead after just two minutes of play.
The Titans early onslaught continued in the eighth minute when halfback Albert Kelly held up a beautiful pass to a barnstorming Mark Minichiello to cross out wide, giving Aidan Sezer a conversion to take the Titans out to a 12-0 lead after ten minutes.
After conceding two early tries, the Cowboys regrouped and after a tight arm-wrestle for field position, it took until the 32nd minute to break the deadlock and post their first points with Antonio Winterstein scoring to reel the deficit back to 12-4.
With ball in hand, the Titans continued to threaten and Zillman sliced through the line again, before drawing-and-passing to Albert Kelly to score under the posts in the 37th minute to give the Titans an 18-4 lead.
With the Cowboys failing to find touch from a penalty, the Titans were gifted one last attacking raid in the half, and they got the ball to Sezer who plotted a handy field-goal to give the team a 19-4 half-time lead.
After defending a barrage of Cowboys attack early in the second-half, the Titans extended their lead in the 52nd minute, after a set-piece saw Taylor produce a sneaky inside ball to a flying Zillman who crossed for his second try of the night to give the Titans a 25-4 lead with 25 minutes remaining.
A penalty piggy-backed the Cowboys up the field and they took full advantage when winger Ashley Graham produced a moment of brilliance, producing a one-handed scoop of a Clint Greenshields' grubber to plant the ball down just inside touch to reduce the Titans lead to 25-8 with 22 minutes remaining.
Some heavy defence by the Titans forced a Cowboys error, which resulted in Kelly scooping up the loose ball before racing 90 metres downfield to bag his second try of the night and give the Titans a 31-8 lead with just over five minutes remaining.
The Cowboys managed to score a consolation try on the full-time buzzer with utility Ethan Lowe crossing to reel the full-time score back to 31-12.
The Titans have the bye next week, before taking on the South Sydney Rabbitohs in Cairns in two weeks’ time.
Gold Coast Titans 31 (W Zillman 2, A Kelly 2, M Minichiello; A Sezer 5 conversions, A Sezer 1 field-goal) defeated North Queensland Cowboys 12 (A Winterstein, A Graham, E Lowe).