The Aquis Gold Coast Titans have registered a gritty 24-14 victory over the Parramatta Eels at Cbus Super Stadium tonight, ending a five-match losing streak.
A brilliant individual try by James Roberts, his first since the round 15 clash with the Warriors and the only time all game he received some genuine space, sealed the match in the 73rd minute after a spectacular 45-metre run.
With the Eels mounting a late comeback, it was the speed of Roberts which proved the difference with the winger weaving his way through the Eels defence to race away and score a try in the corner to secure the Titans seventh win of the season and edge them two points clear of the bottom of the ladder.
Titans coach Neil Henry praised his team’s ability to remain resilient throughout the match and come away with the win against a desperate Parramatta outfit.
“We talked about it at half-time that we needed to stick to what we practised doing with our attack and probably more importantly, we had to be a bit more resilient defensively at times when they had a bit of possession,” he said.
“When they got back to 18-14 and had a couple of sets on our line where we had to hang in but it was good to come away with the late try and it’s great to get a win.
“It’s a relief but it’s also showing that you can do things, getting back to defending your sets, putting some plays on and backing yourself to attack a bit at times. There’s a bit of play in us, you tend to go into your shell and try and get more structured when you’re not holding the ball but we just need to play our footy.
“They were quite determined, they had some good line speed there and some good contact. They’re a big, mobile team but I think we handled them really well.
“It’s a team performance and it’s been a long time coming. I think it was one of those performances where the guys did their job and got the result.
“Its two points leading into a tough game next week down there against Melbourne at Melbourne but we’re going in on a back of a win which is good for the confidence.”
Titans’ stand-in skipper Greg Bird said he was enjoying being back in the captain’s position and is hopeful tonight’s win will start a run which will see the side finish the season on a high note.
“I think our attack started to flow when we started to get some confidence in our defence. We defended really well and that crossed over into our attack, so it was good in that aspect to get a bit of ball and get a bit of space,” he said.
“I enjoy it (the captaincy), it’s a bit of extra responsibility on the field and I just go out and try and do my job, I don’t think anything really changes, I do a little bit more talking but just try and lead by example.
“I made a few errors late in the game which I would probably be abusing my teammates if they did the same but we still got the win and am very happy.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a win as a club and hopefully in these last couple of games we can start playing some football which we can be proud of and start playing some football that I think the Gold Coast fans can come out and watch us and be proud of and finish the season on a little bit of a high.”
The Titans opened the scoring in the seventh minute after Greg Bird collected the ball from an Eels error off a bomb to put in a second kick for a flying Kane Elgey to dive on to score in the corner before Aidan Sezer added the extras for a 6-0 lead.
A Reece Robinson break down the middle of the field scrambled the Titans defence and the Eels took full advantage with bulking prop Junior Paulo barging his way across the line to reduce the Titans’ lead to 6-4 after 14 minutes of play.
A string of possession followed by back-to-back penalties gifted the Eels prime attacking position and they capitalised through crafty hooker Nathan Peats who sliced his way over from dummy-half to score next to the posts to give Robinson an easy conversion and the side a 10-6 lead after 30 minutes.
The Titans looked to have hit-back in the final minutes of the half with Bird putting another grubber in for Elgey, but a flying Bureta Faraimo came from nowhere to collect the ball and secure the Eels a 10-6 half-time lead.
The Titans started the second-half strongly and were rewarded for their efforts with Nene Macdonald collecting a deft Sezer grubber to score next to the posts and with Sezer converting the Titans took a slim 12-10 lead after 45 minutes of play.
With the momentum in their favour, the Titans extended their lead in the 52nd minute with Macdonald taking a sneaky dive from dummy-half to eventually plant the ball down despite the attention of three Eels players and grab his second try of the night to edge the Titans out to an 18-10 lead.
The Eels took advantage of a Titans error coming out of trouble with some quick hands getting the ball to Faraimo to barge his way across in the corner to reduce the Titans lead to 18-14 with nine minutes remaining.
The Titans put an end to any Eels comeback hopes when Bird cleaned up a loose ball from an Eels error before getting a pass away to speedster Roberts to score in the corner. With Sezer adding the extras the Titans took the 24-14 win.
The Titans will look to continue their winning ways when they take on the Melbourne Storm in Melbourne next week.
Gold Coast Titans 24 (N Macdonald 2, K Elgey, J Roberts tries; A Sezer 4 goals) defeated Parramatta Eels 14 (J Paulo, N Peats, B Faraimo tries; R Robinson goal). Crowd: 7496.