iSelect Gold Coast Titans coach John Cartwright has praised his side’s efforts to post back-to-back wins for the first time in the season after posting a 13-12 win over their ‘Northern cousins’ the North Queensland Cowboys a Cbus Super Stadium tonight.
In trying conditions which included a snake making its way onto the field early in the match, 9,482 fans watched on as the Titans fought back from a 6-0 half-time deficit to post two second-half tries to edge 12-6 clear with just under 14 minutes remaining.
With the game hanging in the balance, crafty Titans pivot Aidan Sezer calmly plotted a 69th minute field-goal to extend the Titans lead to beyond a converted try, which proved to be the difference in the end with the Cowboys posting a consolation try in the last play of the game to reel the full-time score back to 13-12.
Cartwright said it was pleasing to see his grind out the match on the back of a mentally tough defensive effort.
“The conditions probably weren’t there for a flowing game and that’s not the way we’ve been gelling at the moment, the games that we’ve won have been pretty gritty affairs so we had to do that again,” Cartwright said.
“I thought in patches we played a lot better than we had been, they defended really well and the conditions probably didn’t really suit to have a fast-flowing game.
“We’ve been able to build a little bit of consistency in the last two weeks and if you’re keeping sides to one or two tries you’re always in the game.
“We will keep working away with the ball in hand but as long as the effort continues and we keep turning up with a mentally tough attitude we’ll get better with the ball.”
iSelect Titans co-captain Greg Bird praised his side’s halves combination in what was a frantic encounter.
“Albert (Kelly) is the player who can turn the game on its head in a click of the fingers and (Aidan) Sezer is the one who wants to complete our set, get down the end so we can put in a kick the corner and grind the game away and I think that’s what we did tonight,” Bird said.
“The game was pretty frantic out there. It’s no secret our attack has been a bit scrappy and we have been winning games purely on hard work and determination.”
The visitors who posted first points when Brent Tate tapped back a Robert Lui bomb to find Thurston who scored under the posts before converting his own try to give the Cowboys a 6-0 lead after eight minutes of play. It 50-50 decision that went to the video ref who ruled the ball went backwards.
The Titans looked to have hit-back in the 15th minute when some crafty backline play put Anthony Don across the line but the try was denied by the video referee who ruled an obstruction against Dave Taylor for coming into contact with Thurston.
The video referee was again called in for a possible Titans try in the 25th minute but it was ruled the ball beat a flying Brad Tighe over the dead-ball line.
The Titans continued to threaten the Cowboys line but were unable crack the visitors defence and were forced to go into the half-time break trailing 6-0.
The Titans levelled the scores up at 6-all shortly into the second-half when a great kick-chase from David Mead forced Cowboys fullback Michael Morgan to spill an Aidan Sezer bomb which bounced conveniently for Kevin Gordon to collect and score under the posts.
The Titans continued to mount pressure on the Cowboys line and took full advantage in the 66th minute when Tighe cleaned up the scraps of a Sezer grubber which Kyle Feldt spilled in-goal. With Sezer adding the extras the Titans lead 12-6 with 12 minutes remaining.
On the resulting kick-off, a penalty piggy-backed the Titans up-field and, on the last tackle, Sezer calmly added a field-goal to extend the Titans’ lead to 13-6 with ten minutes remaining.
The Cowboys managed to post a consolation try after the full-time buzzer when some razzle-dazzle footy resulted in prop Matt Scott scoring under the posts to give Thurston an easy conversion to reel the full-time deficit back to 13-12.
Gold Coast Titans 13 (K Gordon, B Tighe; G Bird 1, A Sezer 1 conversion; A Sezer 1 field-goal) d.
North Queensland Cowboys 12 (J Thurston, M Scott; J Thurston 2 conversions). Crowd: 9482.