The Gold Training under-20s have finished their season with a determined upset victory against ladder leaders North Queensland at 1300SMILES Stadium.
While the Cowboys rested some key players, it was an outstanding performance by the Titans played 70 minutes a man down and who have now beaten seven of the top eight sides and would have caused some both in the finals if not for a mid-season slump and several close losses.
It was a real show of character considering the side lost prop Oshae Tuiasau just 10 minutes into the game with a knee injury, and were without co-captain Shaun Hudson who was injured at training midweek.
The Titans led 24-12 at half-time and withstood a mountain of pressure in the first 30 minutes of the second half as the Cowboys brought the score back to 24-20 with 20 minutes remaining.
A brilliant pass from hooker Chris Law, cutting out three players to find winger Tyronne Roberts-Davis on the right touchline, sealed the match. It was also a class pass from Law in the opening minutes that had started the scoring.
It was a tremendous across-the-park effort by Ben Woolf’s side, with the forwards particularly taking it to their opposing pack, with halfback Braydon Torpy orchestrating the spoils well behind them.
It took only three minutes for the Titans to get on the scoreboard through Tuiasau who split the defence close to the line, off a great pass at the line from dummy-half by Chris Law.
Braydon Torpy converted for a 6-0 lead but the Cowboys retaliated within three minutes when big five-eighth Ty Carucci powered over from dummy half
Hayden Schwass was in next on the right edge after good tip off from Torpy in tackle and the Titans scored an equally good try on the left in the set from the kick-off when Brian Kelly offloaded brilliantly to Braydon McGrady for 14-6 lead after just 18 minutes.
The Cowboys brought it back to 14-12 before Torpy scored on the right side, holding off the defence with a left-handed fend, but he was offline with his kicking and landed only one conversion from four as the Titans led 18-12.
Late in the half Brian Kelly pushed through some lazy defence and put Braydon McGrady in for the side’s fifth first half try. Tyronne Roberts Davis took over the kicking and landed the conversion from out wide for a 24-12 half-time lead.
The Cowboys were always going to fire back in the second half and, after a mountain of possession early in the half, posted two tries through hooker Smith and left winger Gideon Mosby who was the first to a grubber kick and went over for his 34th try of the season to bring the score back to 24-20.
But the Titans several times held the Cowboys up over the line or sprung off their tryline aggressively in defence to shut down danger time and again.
It was Law, who scurried to dummy half late on the right edge, who pulled out a bullet-like pass that surprised the Cowboys’ defence and put a delighted Roberts Davis over untouched. He converted his try for 30-20 but the Titans had to get through a nervous last 10 minutes.
That they did, with some authority as the shell-shocked, and relegated the Cowboys to second place and finish the season on a high.
Titans 30 (Tuiasau, H Schwass, McGrady tries, Torpy, Kelly, Roberts-Davis tries; Roberts-Davis 2, Torpy goals) def. Cowboys 20 (Carucci, Smith, Mosby, Carey tries; Bambling 2 goals).