The iSelect Titans’ under-20 Holden Cup side did not have the season start new coach Ben Woolf would have liked, going down to the Cronulla Sharks 50-22 at Remondis Stadium in Sydney.
They were on the back foot from the opening minute, conceding a try after 90 seconds down the Sharks’ far left, where a lot of Cronulla’s early play was aimed. The home teams’ scoring parade unfortunately continued for the rest of the first half, with the Sharks leading 4-0 after halt-time after scoring eight tries.
But the young Titans showed plenty of grit in the second half, toughening up in defence and putting on three tries in the first 20 minutes, two scored by winger Brian Kelly and another by lock Parahi Wilson.
That brought the score back to 44-16 with 18 minutes remaining and the coach would have been satisfied with the more physical approach to defence and commitment.
To win the second half 22-10 was a good effort considering how easily the Titans’ line was broken in the first half. At one stage the Titans had scored 22-4 in the first 33 minutes of the second half with two tries to lock Parahi Wilson, who put in a whole-hearted effort all night.
Winger Brian Kelly also scored two tries, but with five minutes remaining very classy Sharks fullback Valentine Holmes scored under the posts and converted, giving him a haul of 26 points from three tries and seven goals.
This is a young side with few players having had Holden Cup experience and they will certainly improve from the experience, especially having to travel to Sydney on a Monday for what was several players’ first game in the competition.
CRONULLA 50 (V. Holmes 3, J. Adda-Carr 2, F. Brown 2, J. Clarke, D. Wells; Holmes 7 goals) beat GOLD COAST iSELECT TITANS 22 (P. Wilson 2, B. Kelly 2 tries; S. Harold 2, C. Broadhurst goals) at Remondis Stadium.