Cold comfort in Canberra
The Titans have suffered a heavy defeat in cold Canberra, going down 56-16 at GIO Stadium today.
The only other time the Titans have conceded that many points was in July 2007 when a Neil Henry coached Raiders inflicted a 56-10 defeat at the same venue, the biggest in the Titans' history.
The Titans were outplayed from the opening minutes as the Raiders ran in nine tries, even though the second of Anthony Don’s three tries just before half-time had the Titans well in the match at 24-10 at the break.
The Titans were on the back foot early, off the back of 50-50 call when Josh Papalii was ruled to have kept the ball in play when he flopped it back when he seemed to be grounded on the last tackle near the Titans line.
After a touch by Ryan James, it was ruled the ball was knocked on by the Titans and a scrum ruled. From the scrum Blake Austin went through between Dave Taylor and Kierran Moseley too easily from 10m and the Raiders posted first points.
Jarrod Croker converted for 6-0 but it didn’t take long for the Titans to get back into the game from a neat kick to the left by Aidan Sezer for Don in the 11th minute. Sezer missed the conversion from the left touchline.
Poor defensive reads cost the Titans two more tries that saw the Raiders take a 24-4 lead.
First, in the 18th minute, Paul Vaughan crashed over after Josh Hodgson fed him from dummy half a few metres out. He got over too easily for 12-4 Raiders.
Lachlan Burr coming out of the line on the right edge left room for Soliola to offload to Nicholls on the inside who gave Jarrod Croker an easy run to the line for 18-4 after 27 minutes.
Next it was Josh Papalii who broke on the right side and offloaded for winger Jordan Rapana to score under the posts to make it 24-4.
But a good read down the left by Daniel Mortimer and Kane Elgey, who threw a good long ball to Don with 30 seconds of the half left, put the Raiders back in the match just before the break. Don scored his second and ran close enough to the posts to give Sezer an easy conversion, making it 24-10.
Don in for his third not long into the second half. We looked to be going nowhere when the ball went to the right. Then it shifted left and Kane Elgey’s pass went to grounds but Ryan James, the Titans’ best in the first half, picked up the bouncing ball and fed Anthony Don who flew over the corner post and scored his third of the day.
It was 24-16 and the Titans looked like they could come from behind and win. But rarely from that point did they genuinely worry the Raiders and instead let in too many soft tries.
Just as the Titans were getting back into the match, we were caught in goal from a kick and from the resulting set Austin put on a right foot step and too easily beat Eddy Pettybourne, Ryan James and Josh Hoffman as he desperately tried to bring him in. Croker’s goal made it 30-16.
Another 50-50 call went against the Titans when Shaun Fensom looked to try to offload but the refs ruled a strip. From the resulting set the Raiders swung the ball to the right and Croker found space between Sezer and Roberts and got over. He missed the goal for 34-16.
It took just one more set for the Raiders to go further ahead. On the last tackle Sam Williams kicked to the right corner and Anthony Don coughed up the ball and Papalii picked it up and snuck over.
Another soft try followed when Sia Soliola crashed over down the short side on the left and Croker converted for 44-16.
Further insult came when Sezer threw an intercept pass to Erick Lee who accepted it gleefully and ran 80m to score and Croker’s conversion brought up the half-century. The clouds closed in but it was already dark in the minds of the Titans. Then halfback Sam Williams went over from dummy half.
Canberra Raiders (Austin 2, Croker 2, Edrick, Vaughan, Rapana, Papalii, Soliola, Williams tries; Croker 8 goals) def. Gold Coast Titans 16 (Don 3 tries; Sezer 2 goals). Half-time: 24-10 Canberra. Crowd: 8116.