The iSelect Gold Coast Titans under-20s side have suffered a 34-18 loss to the Penrith Panthers at Cbus Super Stadium this afternoon, meaning they are still winless on home soil in 2014.
The young Titans started the game strongly taking an early 10-0 lead but were chased down by an attacking Panthers side who scored two tries late in the first half to narrowly go into the break 12-10 up.
In a see-sawing second-half, the young Titans put in a solid effort but were unable to contain the top-eight placed Panthers outfit who crossed for four second-half tries to get the two competition points.
The Titans received an injury scare late in the first half with utility Nathan Portelli being escorted off in the medicab from the field in a neck brace, before being taken to hospital for precautionary check-ups after being concussed attempting to make a tackle. He had some neck pain but the injury did not appear serious.
Early on, the Titans turned defence into attack when Jahrome Hughes collected a bomb on his own 10 metre line before getting an offload resulting in Rory Humphreys racing 90 metres to post the first points of the afternoon, but with Connor Broadhurst’s conversion unsuccessful the Titans had to settle for a 4-0 lead after ten minutes.
The Titans extended their lead in the 20th minutes when Hughes collected a deft Daniel Schwass grubber to score next to the posts to give Broadhurst an easy kick and the Titans a 10-0 lead.
The Panthers responded in the 31st minute when crafty dummy-half Josh Tangitau crashed across the line before Corey Harawira added the extras to reel the deficit back to 10-6.
With the momentum and possession in their favour, the Panthers capitalised with Tangitau throwing a short-pass to put Brendan Attwood in next to the posts to give Harawira an easy conversion and the visitors a 12-10 half-time lead.
The Titans were rewarded for some desperate defence early in the second-half with Kane Elgey putting in a grubber down the touchline before Humphries managed to bat it back to Elgey to score to give the Titans a 14-12 lead after 47 minutes.
The Panthers hit-back scoring two quick tries in succession with Waqa Blake and Joshua Jay getting across the line to edge the visitors out to a 24-14 lead with just over 20 minutes remaining.
The Titans turned the momentum back in their favour in the 62nd minute with Broadhurst crossing out wide to reduce the visitors lead to 24-18.
But the Panthers put an end to any Titans comeback hopes with winger Christian Crichton finishing of a backline play to cross out wide in the 69th minute to give the visitors an unattainable 30-18 lead with 10 minutes remaining.
The Panthers finished the night in fashion with Blake grabbing his second try of the night in the 73rd minute to give the visitors the 34-18 victory. It was yet another clash in which the Titans led early but could not sustain the effort for 80 minutes.
The Titans will look to hit back next week when they take on the Melbourne Storm, who they beat earlier this season, at Cbus Super Stadium.
Penrith Panthers 34 (W Blake 2, J Tangitau, B Attwood, J Jay, C Chrichton tries; C Harawira 5 goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 18 (R Humphries, J Hughes, K Elgey, C Broadhurst tries; C Broadhurst 1 goals).