Under-20s squander good start
The Gold Training Titans under-20s have conceded 22 second half points after a bright start to the clash with Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium, going down 38-10.
After scoring first points after just three minutes and looking in control of the match for most of the first half-hour, the Titans fell away to concede seven tries in 50 minutes.
Knights right winger Fuaimamao Uta, up against NSW uncer-20s State of Origin rep Brian Kelly, picked up five tries, all from being given space on the outside from quick-passing shifts down that side.
It was a disappointing effort by the Titans who had Kane Lawton back in the side at hooker after playing the previous three games in the Intrust Super Cup.
The momentum shift started seconds before half-time when the Knights scored after an intercept 30m from their line with the Titans pushing the ball left searching for a try-scoring opportunity. From the next ruck the Knights scored on the left side for a 16-6 half-time lead.
The Titans had a great start to the match when returning winger Zac Spring scoring in the right corner with his first touch if the ball. On the back of a midfield penalty, the Titans were in good field position when the shifted the ball to the right and Spring was given an overlap and ran 20 metres to receive a gifted welcome back four-pointer.
Shaun Hudson converted from the touchline and the Gold Coasters had the start they wanted.
They held composure well although both teams conceded penalties early but the Knights levelled the scores with a shift to their left on the 20-minute mark which saw winger Uta cross after getting outside Brian Kelly. Brock Lamb converted from touch for 6-all.
The Knights scored again down the right edge ten minutes before the break but the heart-breaker came 45 seconds from half-time. The Titans attacked down the left and fullback Shaun Hudson tried to tip on a quick ball to Josh Berkers but it was intercepted by Uta.
Brayden Torpy ran down Uta but from the next play the ball shifted to the left and second-rower Bradie Smith was over. The conversion gave Newcastle a 16-6 lead instead of 10-6.
Yet the Titans took just seven minutes of the second half to strike back through a wonderful try to Brian Kelly. Rory Humphreys and Zac Spring did well to offload in the right corner as the Knights defence converged. The ball then spread left a long ball from Shaun Hudson saw Kelly get over in the left corner for 16-10.
But the comeback was short-lived with the Knights scoring from a convenient bounce from a grubber kick on the Titans try-line that avoided the grasp of Kelly, and Uta was in for his third try of the match. Lamb converted for 22-10, 12 into the second half.
Within four minutes Uta could not believe his luck when he was given an overlap after a raid down a short right side and he’d scored four tries within an hour. Lamb was on target again to make it 28-10 and when Hudson’s kick off went dead in goal, the Titans were immediately under more pressure.
Incredibly, Uta picked up a fifth try as the Titans’ defence fell apart in the final 15 minutes of the match, when he just beat the cover in the right corner.
It was sad to see the young Titans, who had played with such grit in recent weeks and were so solid in the first half hour, fall away and concede 32 points in the final 50 minutes.
Newcastle Knights 38 (Uta 5, Smith, Kelly tries; Lamb 5 goals) def. Gold Coast Titans 10 (Spring, Kelly tries; Hudson goal).