Titans win thriller over Dragons
Sunday 12 May 2013 5:02 PM
A late field goal to playmaker Aidan Sezer has guided the iSelect Gold Coast Titans to a hard-fought 15-14 victory over the St George Illawarra Dragons at Skilled Park today.
After going into the half-time break tied up at 8-all, the Titans trailed 14-8 with 30 minutes remaining, before zippy fullback William Zillman crossed out-wide for his second-try of the match and give Sezer the kick to tie the game up at 14-all.
Going into the final 13 minutes of the match, the Titans threw an early pass to Sezer who caught the Dragons' defence out to nail a 20 metre field-goal and give his side the 15-14 victory.
iSelect Titans coach John Cartwright said he was pleased with his side’s composure and ability to dig-deep late in the match, particularly after having two tries controversially disallowed.
“It was a great effort by the players to pick themselves up - that was gut-wrenching what happened (the two disallowed tries),” Cartwright said.
“For them to pick themselves up and lift a cog and probably unlucky not to score again at the end, that was a super performance by our boys.
“I think having a lead is so important in the game, I think the kick at half-time too was critical, it mightn’t sound much but 8-6 and 8-all is a massive difference to me.
Of the Sezer field-goal, Cartwright said: “If you’re in front or its equal, if the opposition scores you’re still in the game, I think mentally it’s a huge thing to have a lead.
“They’re a very tight-knit group of guys, if we can sneak through the origin period and stay injury free and get through that period, that’s going to be tough.
“They’re getting closer and closer and our footy’s going to get better and better. We missed a few opportunities today, but there was a 15 minute period in the second-half where it was going against us where we just clicked.
“The challenge for us is to do that consistently game-in, game-out for longer periods of the game, as a footy team I can see them growing all the time.”
iSelect Titans co-captain Nate Myles said it was good to see the side respond to the disheartning 'no try' calls in a positive fashion.
“It was a good thing for us we haven’t been able to say we respond too well to some things that go against us,” Myles said.
“I thought they were tries, so for the team to jump back up I thought it was good.”
A Titans error put the Dragons on the attack, and they took full advantage from the resulting scrum with a set-piece putting debutant Adam Quinlan in space before he produced a miraculous flick-pass back inside for Daniel Vidot to open the scoring, with Soward failing to convert the Titans trailed 4-0 after seven minutes.
The Titans responded in the 17th minute when some quick hands down the blind-side put speedy winger David Mead in space to draw-and-pass to the supporting William Zillman, to score untouched under the posts, giving Aidan Sezer an easy conversion and the side a slim 6-4 lead.
A Soward 40-20 kick put the Dragons in prime attacking position, and they capitalised when winger Jason Nightingale managed to plant his hands on a Nathan Fien grubber-kick, just millimetres from the sideline to give the Dragons a slim 8-6 lead.
In the final minute of the half, the Titans were gifted a penalty and Sezer slotted the kick from 40 metres out to equal the scores up at 8-all going into the half-time break.
The Titans looked to have opened the scoring in the second-half when utility hooker Sam Iwrin burrowed his way across the line in the 44th minute, only to be denied by the video-referee for a double-movement.
It was the Dragons who broke the deadlock, when Nightingale out-leapt Zillman to gather-in a Soward bomb and muscle his way across the line, giving Soward an easy conversion and the Dragons a 14-8 lead with just under 30 minutes remaining.
The Titans were again denied a try in the 59th minute after Sezer threw a lovely inside ball to Zillman who looked to have crossed for his second, but referee Shayne Hayne sent the decision up to the video-referee, who controversially called a no-try due to an obstruction run by Greg Bird.
But the Titans kept their composure and were rewarded in the 64th minute, when Bird threw an inside pass to Zillman who stretched out to plant the ball down and bag his second try, only after the decision was again sent upstairs to the video referee.
Sezer then held his nerve to add the extras from out wide and level the scores at 14-all heading into the final 15 minutes.
Some strong runs by the Titans forwards got the home-side into the Dragons half, and they worked a ball out to Sezer to calmly plot a field-goal and give the Titans a slim 15-14 lead with 13 minutes remaining.
With the game on the line, the Dragons started throwing everything they had at the Titans, but some desperate scrambling defence kept the Dragons at bay.
The Titans will look to continue their winning ways when they take on ‘big brothers’, the Brisbane Broncos in an all-Queensland derby at Suncorp Stadium next Friday.
Gold Coast Titans 15 (W Zillman 2; A Sezer 2 conversions; A Sezer 1 penalty goal; A Sezer 1 field-goal)defeated St George Illawarra Dragons 14 (J Nightingale 2, D Vidot; J Soward 1 conversions)