Under-20s survive late scare
The Gold Training Titans under-20s have again given coach Ben Woolf heart flutters at Central Coast Stadium, sneaking in 32-30 against Canterbury Bulldogs after leading 20-4 at half-time.
It came just weeks after they relinquished a big lead against Sydney Roosters at Gosford, before winning in the final seconds.
The Titans scored first in the 14th minute through in-form fullback Shaun Hudson when he took advantage of an overlap on the left edge and went through a narrow gap. Braydon Torpy missed the conversion.
And they were in again in the same spot by the end of the next set, this time the spoils going to winger Greg Leleisiuao who crossed untouched. This time Torpy added the extras from the touchline for the Titans to open up a handy 10-0 lead after 18 minutes.
The Bulldogs scored in the 30th minute to bring the lead back to six points, with right winger Jayden Okunbor going over.
But the Titans finished the half strongly with Oshae Tuiasau, one of the best performers, charging over from short range then Leleisiuao crossing for his second, after good shape and a shift to the left yielded a third try in the left corner.
Torpy converted this time for the Titans to go to the sheds with a 20-4 half-time lead.
Leleisiuao scored his third of the day in the second half and prop Max Elliott burrowed over from dummy half, either side of Renouf To’omaga scoring for the Bulldogs, for the Titans to open up a 30-10 lead just 16 minutes into the second half.
However, on their minds would have been the fact they led the Roosters by 34-10 at the same venue just a few weeks earlier with just 13 minutes remaining but fell behind. The Roosters took the lead 35-34 with two minutes left only for the Titans to snatch victory in the final minute.
And with 18 minutes to go the Bulldogs narrowed the gap by four points when they ran the ball to the left on the last tackle and centre Reimis Smith scored for 30-14. From the kick-off Smith was over again, under the posts for the Titans lead to suddenly shrink to 10 points at 30-20.
Incredibly, it was 30-24 not long after when winger Marcelo Montoya crossed out wide and the nerves of coach Woolf were on edge a second time at Central Coast Stadium just seven weeks apart.
A penalty goal by Hudson soothed his worries to give the Titans an eight-point advantage at 32-24 with just over four minutes remaining. He had another goal attempt which sucked up precious seconds with two minutes remaining but it went wide.
Inside the last minute Montoya crossed again and the try was converted by Hamilton for the final score to be 32-30, a typical high-scoring, see-sawing Holden Cup clash.
Gold Coast Titans 32 (Leleisiuao 3, Hudson, Tuiasau, Elliott tries; Torpy 4 goals) def. Canterbury Bulldogs 30 (Smith 2, Montoya 2, Okunbor, To’omaga tries; Hamilton 3 goals).