The Gold Coast Titans Auckland 9’s campaign has started off with a determined 17-10 loss to home-town favourites the New Zealand Warriors.
It was a promising start to the competition by the Titans who created multiple try-scoring opportunities but were out-classed by the razzle-dazzle of Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson who had a hand in all of the Warriors tries.
The Warriors started the more physical of the sides with some heavy defence early-on making it difficult for the Titans to get out of their own half.
With the run of possesion, the Warriors posted first points with Johnson delivering a deft short ball to Ryan Hoffman to barge over before Johnson added the extras to give the Warriors a 6-0 lead after five minutes of play
An error from the kick-off gifted the Titans field position and they made the most of it with new recruit Josh Hoffman showing great pace to score for his first try in Titans colours. With Aidan Sezer converting the game was tied-up at 6-all with three minutes remaining in the half.
With both sides trading enterprising plays, it was the Warriors who took advantage with the magical feet of Johnson proving hard to contain with the crafty halfback putting a strong-running Solomone Kata in for a bonus-point try right on the half-time buzzer. Johnson added the extras from in-front to give the Warriors a 13-6 half-time lead.
The Titans started the second-half with a spark in their step with Kierran Moseley getting a second-kick off a blind-side chip before Sezer won the race to the ball to score out wide, with the conversion sailing wide the Titans Trailed 13-10 with just under eight minutes remaining.
With the home-crowd on their side, the momentum swung in the Warriors favour and through some powerful charges, they created space out wide for Tui Lolohea to score out wide to extend the Warriors lead out to 17-10 with three minutes remaining.
With time running out, the Titans got the ball to their strike weapon James Roberts who found space out wide but some desperate Warriors defence forced the speedster into touch to seal a 17-10 victory.
The Titans will look to hit-back later this afternoon when they take on the West Tigers who early in the day scored a 16-10 victory over the Canberra Raiders.
New Zealand Warriors 17 (R Hoffman, S Kata, T Lolohea; S Johnson 2 goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 10 (J Hoffman, A Sezer tries; A Sezer 1 goal)