The Aquis Gold Coast Titans have been made to pay for another disappointing performance in cold blustery conditions in Newcastle, going down to the Knights 30-2.
With just a five-day turnaround after the 38-6 loss to Manly on Monday night, the side has been convincingly beaten by teams below them on the table to a combined 68-8 – when there was an opportunity to latch onto the top eight teams.
Ball control was terrible in the tough conditions, and the Knights took advantage of 60 per cent of possession as the Titans completed just 55 per cent of their sets.
The one positive was that the Knights were kept scoreless for the last 25 minutes, with the Titans defending several sets on their line.
The Titans had a big southerly wind in their face in the first half but scored the first points through a penalty goal to Daniel Mortimer in the 11th minute. But that was their only bright spot in the first half, other than a 4-0 penalty count after 15 minutes.
The Knights gradually got into some rhythm and kicked far better, then reaped the continual field position at Gold Coast’s end.
They scored three tries in 10 minutes, two from kicks and the other an extraordinary “what happened there” moment.
Newcastle skipper Kurt Gidley scored the first try after he plucked a Jarrod Mullen bomb out of the air, beating Josh Hoffman to it under the posts. Tyrone Roberts converted for 6-0 after 25 minutes.
Next saw the incredible four-pointer. Korbin Sims claimed a try after pushing over the line and trying to force the ball in the wet. The ball was stripped clear and Jake Mamo gathered it and strolled over with Sims claiming he’d already scored.
Referee Gavin Badger had signalled to the video ref to check on his no try ruling. Replays showed Sims didn’t force the ball and it was indeed raked out and went to Mamo who fairly scored – however only when Badger had “paused play” to ask for video assistance.
Roberts converted again for 12-2. Five minutes later Newcastle scored their third try when Roberts grubbered towards the Titans’ try-line, Daniel Mortimer fumbled it backwards as he tried to intercept its path and Tariq Sims grabbed the rebound and pushed the ball over.
Roberts converted for 18-2 then, 30 seconds from the break, landed a goal after the Titans were penalised for holding on in the ruck to make the score at half-time 20-2.
Despite having the wind at their backs and the rain subsiding, the Titans went further behind when Mullen scored just three minutes into the second session. Mullen ran the ball down the left on the last tackle and after linking to James McManus he took the inside pass to touch down and make it 24-4.
The points continued through Knights interchange hooker Danny Levi who ran over too easily from half, splitting three defenders. Roberts’ goaled for 30-2 with 26 minutes still left.
The Knights were denied more points but rarely did the Titans threaten their defence despite the wind at their backs and the conditions improving after the rain stopped.
Newcastle 30 (Gidley, Mamo, T Sims, Mullen, Levi tries; Roberts 5 goals) beat Aquis Titans 2 (Mortimer goal) at Hunter Stadium. Crowd: