The iSelect Gold Coast Titans have yet again conceded too many second-half points in going down to the Penrith Panthers 20-6 at Sportingbet Stadium today.
The Titans were behind only 4-0 after 35 minutes after their scrambling defence denied the Panthers at least two tries.
Panthers halfback Sam Scarlett then scored an individual try after beating four defenders from 15 metres to make it 8-0 four minutes from the break.
Just before half-time Zac Spring failed to pull in the bouncing ball from a kick just inside the dead-ball line which could have had the Titans just two points behind at half-time despite doing most of the defending.
However, they failed to gather any momentum in the second half with the Panthers scoring three tries to one with fullback Dallin Watene Zelezniak, originally selected as winger in first grade, getting a double in the last 20 minutes and showing great attacking class.
The Titans squandered possession too often when they reached the opposing quarter, and found themselves 20-0 behind with 12 minutes remaining.
Spring put the Titans on the board when he leapt high to latch onto a Christian Hazard bomb into the in-goal. Deacon Fletcher’s conversion made it 20-6 but it was too late for the Gold Coast boys.
Penrith centre Waqa Blake scored his second try two minutes from full-time for the final score of 26-6, leaving the Titans at the base of the ladder with just one wing.
They were courageous defensively for the first half but burned up too much energy and the extra pace of the Panthers took advantage, with John Cartwright’s nephew Bryce Cartwright one of their best performers.
Penrith 26 (W. Blake 2, D. Watene-Zelezniak 2, S. Scarlett tries; C. Harawira 3 goals) beat iSelect Gold Coast Titans 6 (Z. Spring try, D. Fletcher goal).