The iSelect Gold Coast Titans have suffered a 36-14 loss to the Penrith Panthers at Cbus Super Stadium tonight in front of a crowd of 10,507, a fourth successive loss at a crucial period in the season.
The Titans went into the half-time break trailing 14-8 and were unlucky not to be in-front after William Zillman and David Mead both got across the line only to be denied by the referees.
But the Titans produced an error-riddled second-half performance only managing to complete 10 of 16 sets and the Panthers capitalised to mount momentum posting four tries giving, them the win to put them on the top of the competition ladder.
iSelect Titans coach John Cartwright said his side put itself under immense pressure in the second-half and were made to pay the price after failing to hold possession.
“We certainly didn’t finish the game well, our last ten minutes with the ball and defensively was our worst ten minutes,” Cartwright said.
“That was the frustrating thing, a lot of their tries came from our bad play, poor kicks and poor lead up to the kick. We went out from dummy-half and put the kicker under pressure a couple of times a couple of times.
“Unfortunately there’s no defence to those things, you can work as hard as you like but there’s no defence when you’ve put your team in those positions and it’s not acceptable at this level.
“I really don’t think the scoreboard tonight indicated the true reflection of where the game was, it was pretty hardly fought and we made some dumb errors. Often you don’t get punished with points when you make dumb errors but they punished us three times and come up with 18 points from it.”
It was the visitors who opened the scoring through live-wire dummy-half James Segeyaro who threw two dummies to split the Titans defence before outpacing William Zillman to score next to the posts to give Jamie Soward an easy conversion and the Panthers an early 6-0 lead.
The Titans took advantage of a repeat set in the 14th minute with hard-working front-rower Luke Douglas barging his way across the line from a penalty tap to score next to the posts, giving Kevin Gordon an easy start to his goal-kicking career to tie the game up at 6-all.
The Panthers kick-off went out on the full, putting the Titans in prime attacking position and they took advantage with Gordon slotting a penalty-goal from in-front to give the home-side a slim 8-6 lead after 20 minutes.
The Titans got across the line in the 27th minute after Zillman collected a Brad Takairangi kick, with referee Matt Cechin nominating ‘try’ but checking with the video ref. He was overruled, with the decision that Zillman was responsible for the smallest knock-on as Zillman picked up the ball.
From the resulting change-over the Panthers made matters worse with Tyrone Peachey breaking through the defensive line before getting a pass to Soward who threw a long pass to Lewis Brown to score out wide. With Soward adding the extras the Panthers took a 12-8 lead.
The Titans got across the line again in the 34th minute, but were again denied with the touch-judge ruling speedster Mead put a foot on the sideline before getting the ball down – without consulting the video ref, which seemed extraordinary considering how close the call obviously. Replays suggested he stayed in the field of play.
The Panthers received a penalty in front of the posts on the half-time buzzer and Soward added the extras to take the visitors into the break leading 14-8.
The Panthers capitalised on a Titans error coming out of trouble with young centre Isaah Yeo cleaning up the scraps to score out wide but with Soward’s kick sailing wide the visitors had to settle for an 18-8 lead after 51 minutes of play.
Against the run of play the Panthers extended their lead with Albert Kelly’s kick being deflected before being picked up by Peachey who ran 90 metres downfield to score in the corner, and with Soward adding the extras the visitors lead 24-8 with just under 15 minutes remaining.
The Titans needed to be the next to score and they did so through Mead who broke through three defenders, after David Taylor attacked on the right side and had the ball stripped before regaining and feeding Mead. Mead ran 40m to score under the posts giving Gordon an easy conversion to reel the deficit back to 24-14 with under ten minutes remaining.
The Panthers put an end to any Titans’ comeback hopes with Soward cleaning up kick before racing downfield to score to give himself an easy conversion and his side an unattainable 30-14 lead with three minutes remaining.
The Panthers finished the game in style with Peachey breaking through the defence before offloading to Matt Moylan to score untouched under the posts, before Soward added the extras to give the Panthers the 36-14 victory.
The Titans will look to get their season back on track next week when they take on the Melbourne Storm at Cbus Super Stadium on Monday week, with both sides without their State of Origin players.
Penrith Panthers 36 (J Segeyaro, L Brown, I Yeo, T Peachey, J Soward, M Moylan tries; J Soward 6 goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 14 (L Douglas, D Mead tries; K Gordon 3 goals).
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