Fightback not enough to beat Sharks
A second-half fightback from the Titans through their new playmaking pair of Tyrone Roberts and Ash Taylor wasn't enough to stop a convincing Cronulla win in the final first-round pool match of the weekend.
A beautiful solo try from Ben Barba opened the scoring next to the posts and former Ipswich playmaker Josh Cleeland bagged Cronulla's second when he finished off a fine team try initiated by Chad Townsend just before half-time to make it 12-0 at the break.
The Titans were first to score in the second half when a long ball from new recruit Tyrone Roberts created some space for David Mead and things got awkward from Cronulla when they allowed the restart to go dead. Another new playmaker in Ash Taylor then put Greg Bird over and level up at 12-all.
A 50-metre try from Mitch Brown put the Sharks back in front with a seven-point try and with the clock winding down Jack Bird iced the win with a powerful solo try.
It was the first taste of Nines rugby league for Sharks co-captain Luke Lewis.
"It was good to have a hit out there with the young guys that I haven't played with before. It was a little bit different, it was quick around the ruck but you just had to shut the gate," he told NRL.com.
"It was a good experience, I was supposed to come last year and I had a bit of a hiccup so I'm just glad to be here. It's been a fun couple of days, real upbeat, and it's been enjoyable."
Roberts said there were some positive signs for his halves combination with Taylor.
"He started on the bench so when he came on it was good to link together and we still have a couple of games to go to build on it," Roberts told NRL.com.
"Coming to the Gold Coast has been easy going though, all the boys are good, but now it's just a matter of building on our connections now."
Cronulla Sharks 23 (Barba, Cleeland, Brown, Bird tries, Bird 2, Townsend goals) def Gold Coast Titans 12 (Mead, Bird tries, Roberts 2 goals).