Auckland drought broken
The Titans have won in Auckland for the first time since 2010 after coming from behind at half-time to win 32-28 in thrilling effort on ANZAC Day.
They seemed to have the game in the bag at 32-18 with seven minutes remaining and looking at a third straight second-half shut out in successive weeks before the Warriors posted two tries to throw the game open in the final three minutes.
But the Titans held their nerve and were deserved winners, breaking an eight-match winning streak by the Warriors in games between the two teams.
There were several outstanding performers from backs Josh Hoffman, David Mead, James Roberts, Kane Elgey who scored two tries through to the whole pack including hooker Kierran Moseley who played close to 70 minutes after Beau Falloon injured his shoulder early in the match.
It took only three minutes for the Warriors to get on the board when centre David Fusitu’a split the defence on the Titans right edge in the set after Kane Elgey had dropped the ball inside the Titans half. Shaun Johnson converted from near touch.
Elgey responded in the 14th minute when he ran onto a great offload from Ryan James, a flat pass a metre short of the tryline. Aidan Sezer’s conversion made it 6-all.
But Ben Matulino scored only two minutes later after from a good flat ball from Nathan Friend 10m out. Johnson’s goal made it 12-6.
Elgey was in the next try when he cut out two players to give Anthony Don an overlap on the left touchline and he dived to put the ball down one-handed. Sezer converted from touch to level the scores at 12-all.
It was a former Titan Friend who gave the Warriors an 18-12 half-time lead when he ran from dummy half from 35m and found Jonathan Wright in support.
But it was another excellent second half effort that gave the Titans a wonderful ANZAC Day victory fans will always remember.
David Mead almost grabbed a spectacular try early in the half hen he ran 78m from 20m tap but was bundled into touch by Warriors fullback Tuimoala Lolohea. But it took just four more minutes for the points to start when Kierran Moseley, who replaced the injured Beau Falloon early in the match, scored when he caught the defence napping from dummy half.
Sezer missed the goal so the Warriors kept the lead at 18-16 until James Roberts scored three minutes later after Ryan James flopped back a Sezer bomb to Moseley who fed Roberts 20m out. Sezer missed again but the Titans led 20-18.
Elgey scored his second after 61 minutes after a set move to right using Luke Douglas and Aidan Sezer. James Roberts doubled back inside and split the defence, finding Moseley who sent a wonderful quick pass to the supporting Elgey who ran unopposed to under the posts.
James scored on the left edge at the 67th minute mark and at 32-18 it looked like the Titans were set for another second half shut-out but the Warriors threw the game wide open with two late tries, to make it a nervous last three minutes.
Titans 32 (Elgey 2, Don, Roberts, Moseley, James tries; Sezer 4 goals) def. Warriors 28 (Fusitu’a, Matulino, Wright, Kata,Thompson tries; Johnson 4 goals) at Mt Smart Stadium. Crowd: 15,102.