The Gold Training Titans under-20s have secured a second top-five team scalp in successive rounds by beating fifth-placed Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 22-18 at Pizzey Park this afternoon.
But they had to withstand a nervous finish to the match, with what appeared a score-squaring Manly try controversially disallowed with 40 seconds remaining, after a converted Eagles’ try two minutes earlier had ensured a nervous finish.
Manly right left centre Addison Demetriou, who was their danger man, crossed for his second try with three minutes remaining with saw the score go from 22-12 to 22-18.
Then it was right centre Jesse Ramien who got to the line as full-time approached and reached for the line with his left arm as he hit the ground but the referee ruled double movement.
Yet it was a well-deserved victory by the Titans who were the better side for much of the match with the Schwass twin brothers, who have played so often at Pizzey Park with Burleigh Bears’ Colts side, prominent.
Hayden Schwass scored a double, the second when he latched onto a dummy-and-run from Daniel on the right edge to bring the Titans from 12-10 behind to 16-12 ahead 12 minutes into the second half.
Five-eighth Daniel was the creator, eight minutes later, of what became the match-sealing play when he grabbed a Manly fumble out of the air 20 metres from his own line and hared downfield. As the cover closed he held up a ball for left centre Josh Berkers, who also had a strong game, and he ran a further 40 metres to score.
“It was a telepathic thing, I just knew where he was and he’d be there in support,” Daniel smiled when talking about the Schwass-sticking play that led to the try by Hayden, whose big play from the kick-off against the Roosters led to a breathtaking victory in Gosford a fortnight earlier.
“After the previous couple of weeks when I got away and was run down I thought I’d try to hold it up for Josh and luckily he was in support and had the pace to get away,” he said of the second try.
Daniel Schwass has gathered in confidence and stature within the side in the past few weeks after coming into the five-eighth position held earlier by Karl Lawton while Hayden has consistently been one of the Titans’ best all season.
Manly had a glut of possession for the first half hour on the back of a string of penalties but some committed punishing defence held them to just one try, in the 17th minute, which gave Manly a 6-0 lead.
The Titans hit back with a try to left winger Brian Kelly, his fifth try in five days after scoring four for NSW under-20s Origin side on Wednesday night, in the 27th minute. He picked up a pass that bounced on his toes 15 metres out and stepped his winger to score a neat try in the left corner which was converted by Shaun Hudson.
Hayden Schwass gave the Titans the lead in the 33rd minute when he twisted over in a two-man tackle after a good offload close to the line from Rory Humphreys who attacked strongly all game.
Many took the lead through the powerful Demetriou 12 minutes into the second half but the Daniel Schwass-created efforts in the last 20 minutes proved the difference.
“It was a type of game where for a while it looked like neither side wanted to take the game and win it but in the last 20 minutes we showed how much we wanted it and it was a great reward for the consistent effort of these guys,” said coach Ben Woolf.
“Hayden was really good again and his two tries were important.
“It was great to beat another tip five side. We know we can beat any team. Penrith have only been beaten three times this year and we were one of those who knocked them over and we were in the game for a long while the second time we played them but ran out of troops.
“We’ve rarely not been in a match to the end and I’m proud of the way the guys have stuck at it. If just a couple of things went our way in some close games or we didn’t have the injury problems we had in some matches we could have been in the top eight but we’re not and we just have to keep plugging away like we are and climb the ladder.”
Gold Training Titans 22 (H. Schwass 2, B. Kelly, J. Berkers tries; S. Hudson 3 goals) beat Sea Eagles 18 (A. Demetriou 2, Pearsall tries; Pratt 3 goals) at Pizzey Park.