The Aquis Gold Coast Titans have made it successive wins at home for the first time this season by producing a gritty 28-12 victory over the Canberra Raiders at Cbus Super Stadium this afternoon.
It was an unfortunate start for the Titans who lost Greg Bird from the kick-off to a quadriceps tear but despite the loss of their stand-in pivot managed to take a 14-12 half-time break.
Halfback Kane Elgey, who was only passed fit to play this morning, stepped up to play his most dominant performance of the season to lead the side to victory. Elgey scored a try and had a prominent hand in three others, put in a crucial 40-20 kick and took over the goalkicking duties.
In a scrappy second half, the Titans managed to control the contest with Elgey setting up two tries to guide the Titans to their eighth win of the season and go two points clear of the bottom of the competition ladder where Wests Tigers and Newcastle Knights stand on 18 competition points.
Titans coach Neil Henry said he was proud of his side’s ability to handle the loss of Bird so early in the match to put in a gritty performance in front of the 8762 strong home crowd.
“There were a lot of unforced errors and the game was a bit scrappy but we lost Birdy off the kick-off so we were down to 16 players with 79 minutes to go. So we had to do a re-shuffle which meant some guys had to play bigger minutes,” Henry said
“There was a real lot to like about a bit of character about the team playing at home. It was members’ recognition day and we have had a bit of a lean trot lately so it was good to get both grades home. It was a good afternoon for the club.
“We had every reason to probably let them score points or get the upper hand in the game but we didn’t and that’s a testament to the resilience of the team.”
Henry also said it was great to see Elgey take control of the team in the match and was pleased with his ability to guide the side around the field.
“It was good for Kane to be able to get out there and get 80 minutes out despite not being fully fit. A lot of the attack fell on his shoulders and I think he handled it well.
“I think he has a bright future. He is a competitor and has a bit of awareness there for the long ball for a pass, he sizes up the situation and makes the right choice, he is certainly a player of the future and it is great to see him out there.
“There are some good signs for the future but more importantly we needed a win at home and it’s important to the current crop, with got one more home game that we put in a solid performance.”
Skipper Nate Myles said it was a gutsy performance from Elgey who showed his class against a tough Raiders outfit.
“He is very shy and giggles but deep down he is a really good footy player and when he gets out there he shows glimpses of it,” he said.
The Titans who opened the scoring with a deft Elgey cross-field kick, finding a flying Kalifa Faifai Loa who scored untouched in the corner to give the Titans a 4-0 lead after seven minutes.
The Titans went back-to-back with Elgey supporting an Agnatius Paasi bust up the middle to score next to the posts but with Daniel Mortimer unable to add the extras, the Titans had to settle for an 8-0 lead.
The Raiders received a repeat-set on the Titans line and they capitalised when crafty halfback Sam Williams sliced through a gap in the defensive line to score next to the posts, giving Jarrod Croker an easy conversion to reduce the margin back to 8-6 after 17 minutes.
The game turned into an arm-wrestle with sides going set-for-set until the Titans forced a Raiders error to get a repeat set on the Raiders’ attacking line. The Titans took full advantage with Ryan James barging his way across the line off a good flat pass from Beau Falloon at dummy-half before Elgey converted the try to give the Titans a 14-6 lead.
Back-to-back penalties gifted the Raiders a mountain of attacking position and they took advantage with Croker getting outside of James Roberts to score in the corner before converting his own try to reel the deficit back to 14-12 after 35 minutes.
In the following set, James was placed on-report for a high shot on Williams after getting a kick away, and from the resulting penalty the Raiders went on the attack. Minutes earlier Elgey was put on report for tripping after he threw his legs out while on the ground. The Titans were lucky to escape without conceding points to take a 14-12 lead going into the half-time break.
A repeat set early in the second-half gifted the Titans an opportunity to extend their lead and they did so after a lovely Elgey cut-out pass found Faifai Loa who managed to tip-toe down the touchline before scoring in the corner to give the Titans an 18-12 lead after 45 minutes.
Both sides began trading blows but neither was able to convert their possession into points until the Titans received a penalty in-front of the posts and opted to take the penalty goal to extend their lead beyond a converted try and take a 20-12 lead going into the final 15 minutes.
The Titans secured the win wafter a brilliant attacking backline raid started by Beau Falloon who got a great dummy-half ball away to Josh Hoffman who put a deft pass away to Mortimer before Elgey produced a lovely tip-on to Nene Macdonald to score in the left corner. With Elgey converting the try the Titans took a 26-12 lead going into the final ten minutes.
The Titans finished the match in style with an Elgey penalty goal in the final five minutes guiding the side to the 28-12 victory.
The Titans will look to continue their winning ways when they take on the St George-Illawarra Dragons at Cbus Super Stadium next Sunday.
Gold Coast Titans 28 (K Faifai Loa 2, K Elgey, R James, N Macdonald tries; K Elgey 4 goals) def. Canberra Raiders 12 (S Williams, J Croker tries; J Croker 2 goals) at Cbus Super Stadium. Crowd: 8762.