From looming runaway to cliff-hanger
In-form halfback Kane Elgey will have a nervous wait to see the extent of an ankle injury suffered in the first half of the Titans’ 27-20 victory over Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval tonight.
But equally anxious for 15 minutes was Titans winger Anthony Don … until he sealed the game with a try after the Tigers had fought back from 19-2 behind to 20-19 ahead in the space of nine minutes in the second half.
Don slipped a boot over the dead-ball line as he fielded the kick-off after Aidan Sezer had landed a field goal for a 19-2 lead in the 57th minute, forcing a line-drop out that proved the catalyst for a lift in the Titans confidence – and score sheet.
However he redeemed himself when he took his tally (with James Roberts who scored another impressive try) to 11 tries for the season, beating six defenders from 35 metres to score a try to the right of the posts but had to endure further angst while the video refs looked at his put down. It showed he momentarily looked like he might lose control but the ball was regained off his leg.
“For a split second I thought I might have slipped out but it ended up OK,” he said, relieved, after the match.
The Tigers opened the scoring through a Pat Richards penalty goal after Ryan James was penalised for unnecessary contact on Mitchell Moses. It was an easy kick for a 2-0 lead after six minutes.
But Sezer put the Titans in front in the 10th minute when he dummied to the right and cleared through the Tigers defence from 10 metres to score under the posts. He converted for a 6-2 lead.
Just seven minutes later Kane Elgey started and finished a good passage down the right side. He threw a beautiful cut-out ball to Anthony Don, who was playing right wing to match the powerful Pat Richards. Don got outside of Richards and found Elgey supporting on the inside and he ran 10 metres unopposed to the line. Sezer converted for 12-2.
But misfortune struck the Titans when Elgey limped off behind the tryline with an ankle injury in the 24th minute, suffered when scored his try in a desperate lunge by defender Delouise Hoiter.
It looked like Tigers hooker Manala Cherrington had scored in his NRL debut when referee Ashley Klein went to the video box but ruled ‘try’ at first glance. But it was deemed he had not forced the ball and the initial decision was overlooked and the Titans enjoyed the let-off, holding out for the remainder of the set.
The Titans had the chance to go further ahead when Lachlan Burr was put into the clear and had five players in support. He passed to Kierran Moseley but he stumbled just after receiving the ball and the opportunity was lost.
But three minutes before half-time, Roberts got over the line when he beat Hoiter one-one-one with a strong fend and pace on the outside from 20 metres. Sezer missed this time for the Titans to lead 16-2 at half-time.
After a flow of penalties enabled the Titans to put plenty of early pressure on the Tigers early in the second half. They took the two points on offer with a second penalty in quick succession for a ruck offence, and Aidan Seer kicked the goal for an 18-2 lead nine minutes into the second session.
Sezer unusually took an early field goal offer soon after for a 19-2 lead, 23 minutes from full-time but Don made a misjudgement and his leg slipped dead after he fielded it. The game changed dramatically on that error.
Chris Lawrence scored on the Titans left edge from close range for 19-8 then two minutes later James Tedesco scored from a set play on the right edge and suddenly the score had gone from 19-2 to 19-14.
Then came a controversial ruling. Mitchell Moses grubber kicked and the ball was chased by James and Tedesco. The ball bounced up from the scramble and Lawrence forced it over the line. Klein ruled a try but went to the video.
It appeared Tedesco may have touched the ball forward and the Channel commentators all thought so but it was deemed there was not enough evidence to overturn the original call.
Richards converted for the Tigers, who had been outplayed for 55 minutes, to lead after 67 minutes by a point.
Fortunately the Titans fought back quickly with Antony Don scoring after being put away down the right side by Roberts and he headed in-field and beat a string of defenders with his swerve and pace. Sezer converted from near the posts for 25-20.
Sezer was collected high in a tackle by Sauaso Sue in the closing minutes and was escorted off the field, with Daniel Mortimer – who played well after being forced to halfback to cover for the injured Elgey, slotting the kick from close range.
Gold Coast Titans 27 (Anthony Don, Aidan Sezer, Kane Elgey, James Roberts Tries; Aidan Sezer 4, Daniel Mortimer goals; Aidan Sezer field goal) beat Wests Tigers 20 (Chris Lawrence 2, James Tedesco Tries, Pat Richards 4 goals) at Leichhardt Oval. Crowd: 7,103. Half-time: Titans 16-2.