The Gold Training Titans under-20s have fallen to their eighth successive loss with a hard-fought 28-20 defeat at the hands of the New Zealand Warriors at Cbus Super Stadium tonight.
It was another brave effort by the young Titans who were again forced into a team reshuffle after losing co-captain Parahi Wilson and hooker Karl Lawton for the match and Shane Gillham being forced out of the match early in the second half. But the young Titans managed to go into the half-time break trailing 18-8.
The Titans produced a late try to reduce their deficit to eight points going into the final five minutes and looked set to produce a miracle comeback but were unable to convert their possession into points and were forced to settle for the eight-point loss keeping them at the bottom of the competition ladder.
It was a great start by the Titans who posted first points in the ninth minute through centre Josh Berkers who showed some crafty footwork to get on the outside of his opposite number before barging over to give the Titans a 4-0 lead.
But the Warriors capitalised on a Titans error to hit back in the 14th minute with Semisi Tyrell finishing off a well-executed backline play to score adjacent to the posts to give Ata Hingano an easy conversion and the visitors a 6-4 lead.
With the momentum in their favour the Warriors posted back-to-back tries with hooker Nathaniel Roache slicing through from dummy-half to score under the posts giving Hingano another easy conversion and the Warriors a 12-4 lead going into the final 20 minutes of the half.
The Titans hit back through winger Tyronne Davis who showed some great pace to score in the corner to reduce the Warriors lead to 12-8.
But the Warriors extended their lead in the 32nd minute with Hingano dummying his way through the Titans defensive line to score untouched under the posts to give himself an easy conversion and his side an 18-8 half-time lead.
The Warriors started the stronger of the sides in the second half and extended their lead in the 51st minute when centre Junior Pauga received a deft offload before planting the ball down just inside the sideline. With Hingano’s conversion attempt sailing wide the Titans trailed 22-8 with less than 30 minutes remaining.
The Titans continued to threaten when they got possession and they took full advantage in the 56th minute when Daniel Schwass opted to run it on the last tackle drawing in three Warriors defenders before offloading to Chris Law to score next to the posts. Tyronne Davis took over goalkicking duties and added the extras from his first effort to reduce the Titans deficit back to 22-14.
The Warriors put a dampener on the Titans momentum with winger Tomas Aoke capitalising on a Titans’ error to score out wide before Hingano added the extras to extend his side’s lead out to 28-14 with ten minutes remaining.
But the Titans ensured for a tight finish with a brilliant solo effort by fullback Greg Lelesiuao who busted through three Warriors defenders to score under the posts before Davis added the extras to reduce the margin to 28-20 with five minutes remaining.
The Titans had several attacking raids on the Warriors’ line but just couldn’t crack through their defence and they were forced to settle with the 28-20 loss.
New Zealand Warriors 28 (S Tyrell, N Roache, A Hingano, J Pauga, T Aoke tries; A Hingano 4 goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 20 (J Berkers, T David, C Law, G Lelesiuao tries; T Davis 2 goals)