Two-try efforts by Anthony Milford and Mitchell Dodds has helped guide the Brisbane Broncos to a 26-16 victory over the Titans in the Queensland derby in front of 15,432 fans at Cbus Super Stadium tonight.
The Titans fought back from 18-0 down after 30 minutes, a score that didn't reflect how the game had been played, to 24-16 but crucial errors with the ball when in attacking positions close to the Broncos' line proved costly.
It was the Titans who started the more energetic of the sides and had a majority of the early possession but they were unable to capitalise before succumbing to three quick Broncos tries to go into the half-time break trailing 18-6.
The Titans conceded an early second-half try but managed to get back into the game with back-to-back tries to reel the deficit back to 24-16 with ten minutes remaining. But the Broncos put an end to any comeback hopes with a late penalty in front of the posts edging the visitors’ ten points clear and the 26-16 victory.
Titans coach Neil Henry said he was proud of the team’s effort but some lack of judgement at vital points in the contest cost the side.
“There were some fundamental errors, inexperience and a little bit of frustration out there. We had a lot of attacking sets, we didn’t make an error from yardage sets, we were 20 from 20 but we made 10 errors in the attacking zone, so I think there was a bit of frustration from going away from what we wanted to do at times and not scoring points,” he said.
“We clawed our way back into the game and I was happy with that commitment but we never really strung any sets together attacking their line.
“I was pretty happy with our patience to get a couple of repeat sets and we noticed they were tanking a bit, they were struggling with the momentum we had, but when it was our turn to absorb a bit of pressure, we didn’t do that well enough.
“A couple of flukey type tries blew us away, but we fought our way back into the contest. We’re in games, we just need to be in them for 80 minutes and that’s the nature of the best these days and we’re not able to finish games at the moment.”
Titans captain Nate Myles said there is plenty of effort on the field by his team, but they just lack the finesse to finish of the game.
“We started well, but the polish on our attack is probably the downfall for us. We are building pressure but not consistently and when we do let them off, we really let them off and they march down the other end and we’re under the pump in one set of six,” he said.
“You can never question our boys on their efforts. The effort is always there, it is just about the smarts of it and finishing off things and improving.”
Despite the early dominance, it was the Broncos who posted first points after Sam Thaiday threw an inside pass to put Lachlan Maranta in the clear before the stand-in fullback got a pass away to a supporting Anthony Milford to score under the posts to give Ben Hunt an easy conversion and the Broncos a 6-0 lead after 25 minutes.
The Broncos went back-to-back in unusual fashion with a questionable video-referee decision ruling William Zillman raked the ball out of Thaiday’s hands in the in-goal before utility Mitchell Dodds cleaned up the scraps to plant the ball down. With Hunt adding the extras the Broncos shot-out to a 12-0 lead after 30 minutes of play.
The run of luck continued to go with the visitors with Jack Reed collecting a Titans error to race 70 metres downfield before offloading to Milford who kicked the ball forward to beat a chasing Dave Taylor and score his second of the night. Corey Parker added the extras to give his side the 18-0 lead and post 100 career points against the Titans in the process.
But the luck turned in the Titans favour in the following set with Kane Elgey cleaning up a Daniel Vidot error before getting a pass away toJosh Hoffman who fed winger Anthony Don to cross in the corner. With Sezer adding the extras from the sideline the Titans reeled the deficit back to 18-6 with five minutes remaining in the half.
The Titans had one last crack at the Broncos defensive line before the break with James Roberts forcing his way across the line but he couldn’t manage to get the ball down and the Titans had to settle for the 18-6 half-time scoreline.
The Broncos extended their lead early in the second-half after Kierran Moseley raced out of the line for the intercept but missed making an easy passage for Dodds to grab his second of the night. With Parker adding the extras the Broncos took a 24-6 lead with 35 minutes remaining.
An error by the Broncos gifted the Titans the perfect opportunity to hit-back and they took full advantage with a Sezer and Roberts combining to put David Mead over in the corner before Sezer added the extras to reduce the deficit back to 24-12.
The Titans comeback was underway in the 68th minute with Moseley getting a neat offload to Zillman who raced down field before being brought down just short of the try-line by Maranta. With a quick play-the-ball and the Broncos defence rattled, the Titans spread the ball early to Ryan James to score under the corner bring the score-line to 24-16 with ten minutes remaining.
A Titans penalty 35 metres out and in front of the posts gifted the Broncos an easy conversion attempt and Parker added the extras to give the visitors the 26-16 win.
The Titans will look to hit-back next Saturday when they take on the Parramatta Eels at Pirtek Stadium.
Brisbane Broncos 26 (A Milford 2, M Dodds 2 tries; C Parker 3, B Hunt 2 goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 16 (A Don, D Mead, R James tries; A Sezer 2 goals)