The Aquis Gold Coast Titans have started their 2016 season off in style with an impressive 30-12 win over the Newcastle Knights in wet conditions at Cbus Super Stadium.
The new look Titans outfit, which includes nine new players from last season, were lead brilliantly around the park by exciting halves Tyrone Roberts and Ash Taylor who combined excellently to control the match in the rainy conditions with an 80 per cent completion rate.
Lock Greg Bird was also strong, laying on two tries and being dominant in defence, while Agnatius Paasi continued his good pre-season form with a strong performance that won him the players' player award while Zeb Taia had a strong club debut.
“We just wanted to stay down their end as much as possible and to do that we had to complete our sets. I thought our kicking game and our chase was really good and we put some pressure on their receivers,” he said.
“The boys shared the work load really well, with our outside backs getting some carriers in our own half and our forwards were running nice and strongly which enabled us to get down the field.
“I thought in the conditions we had to tighten things up a little bit and be a bit more direct. I thought we handled the conditions okay; there were some nice passages of play in pretty poor conditions.
“It’s good for confidence for a number of reasons, we had a couple of guys on debut but to get the points in round one is great.
“There was some real commitment defensively out there and our forwards in particular were strong in the middle and they gave us some momentum to play forward on them so it’s a good start. I thought everyone pulled their weight around the field, our outside back got in there, it was a good team effort.
“The team is what we are about, we all have to work collectively together to get that result and we know if we do that we’re really competitive and we’ve shown a little bit today and it’s a good step in the right direction.
“It puts us in a good frame of mind to be out there with a win like that where our defence showed some resolve and we are going to need to be on our game next week against a fairly potent attack in Melbourne outfit.”
After taking a 12-6 lead into the half-time break, the Titans put on a dominant second-half display for the 8313 strong crowd to score three tries including a double to winger Anthony Don on their way to their first win of the season.
After a fast-paced opening stanza, it was the Titans who opened the scoring when a deft Ash Taylor kick evaded the aerial contest and bounced-up nicely for John Olive to plant the ball down and score on his Titans’ debut. Fellow new recruit Tyrone Roberts added the extras to give the home-side a 6-0 lead after 16 minutes.
The Titans extended their lead in the 20th minute when Greg Bird held-up a brilliant short-pass to Agnatius Paasi to run 30 metres to score next to the posts giving Roberts an easy conversion for a 12-0 lead.
A Korbin Sims strip from the kick-off put the Knights on the attack and they took full advantage with a Jarrod Mullen pass putting Knights debutant Pat Mata’utia across the line before Trent Hodkinson converted to reel the deficit back to 12-6 after 23 minutes.
The Knights looked set to score in the 37th minute but some desperate scrambling defence by David Mead forced Akuila Uate to lose the ball short of the line leaving the Titans to take a 12-6 half-time lead.
With the rain setting the Titans managed to extend their lead in the 45th minute when Bird floated a lovely cut-out pass to a flying Anthony Don to slide in the corner to give the Titans a 16-6 lead.
The Titans went back-to-back when Ash Taylor’s grubber got a deflection before being brilliantly picked-up off his bootlaces by forward Zeb Taia to score next to the posts to give Roberts an easy conversion to edge the Titans out to a 22-6 lead with 30 minutes remaining.
The Titans dominance continued and they extended their lead in the 55th minute in bizarre fashion when a Daniel Mortimer miss-kick fortunately went to Don who then kicked ahead for himself before regathering and beating the Knights fullback to score his second try of the night. Roberts continued his radar like accuracy with the conversions to take his side’s lead out to 28-6.
On the back of a Titans error deep in their own half, the Knights mounted their comeback efforts and posted their second try of the night after a deft Hodkinson pass put a flying Daniel Saifiti in next to the posts before converting to reduce the deficit back to 28-12 with ten minutes remaining.
The Titans secured their win with a Roberts’ penalty goal in the dying minutes of the match to give the Titans the 30-12 win.
The Titans will look to continue their winning ways when they take on the Melbourne Storm next week at home.
Gold Coast Titans 30 (A Don 2, J Olive, A Paasi, Z Taia tries; T Roberts 5 goals) defeated Newcastle Knights 12 (P Mata’utia, D Saifiti tries; T Hodkinson 2 goals)