Gutsy win by depleted U20s
Unlikely doubles to forwards Nathan Watts and Morgan Boyle have helped guide the Gold Coast Titans Gold Training under-20s to their second consecutive win of the season with a 30-18 over the Wests Tigers at Cbus Super Stadium tonight.
It was a courageous effort by the young Titans who were down to 15 men for the entire second half with captain Jed Cartwright and star centre Brian Kelly succumbing to ankle injuries.
Despite being under-manned and forced to defend a mountain of Tigers attacking possession, the Titans put on a strong final 20 minutes to reel back an 18-16 deficit with three tries in 12 minutes with Watts and Boyle both grabbing their second.
It was the Tigers who opened the scoring in the fourth minute with Veiru Mapesone holding up a clever short-ball to a barnstorming Jesse Jackson to force his way across the line before Mapesone converted to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead.
The Titans hit-back immediately with prop-forward Watts finishing off a flurry of short-passes to barge his way across the line to score next to the posts and give Tyronne Roberts-Davis an easy conversion to tie the game up at 6-all.
The Titans were forced to defend a mountain of Tigers attack and were rewarded for their defensive efforts in the 21st minute when Brian Kelly cleaned up the scraps of a loose grubber in the Tigers in-goal to plant the ball down. Roberts-Davis added the extras to give the Titans a 12-6 lead.
The Titans were parked on their own defensive line and some desperate defence kept the Tigers at bay for four consecutive sets to give the home-side a 12-6 half-time lead.
The Titans were down to only 15 men for the second-half with Cartwright and Kelly both failing to overcome ankle injuries.
The Titans extended their lead in the 46th minute when halfback Josh Fauid delivered a crafty short-ball to second-rower Boyle to carry three players over the line before planting the ball down to give his side a 16-6 lead.
The Tigers responded with a try of their own in the 51st minute when a well-executed back-line raid resulted in Jackson crossing in the corner for his second of the night before Mapesone added the extras to reduce the Titans lead back to 16-12.
The Tigers went back-to-back with Mapesone slicing through the Titans defence to score out-wide before converting his own try to give the Tigers an 18-16 lead with 22 minutes remaining.
With the match turning into an arm-wrestle, it was the Titans who broke the stalemate in the 67th minute with Boyle reeling in a deft Josh Rogers’ grubber to score his second try of the night and give the Titans a slim 20-18 lead.
The Titans extended their lead in the 71st minute with fullback Brayden McGrady showing a great display of strength to barge over from dummy-half but with Roberts-Davis conversion sailing with the Titans had to settle for a nervous 24-18 lead going into the final eight minutes.
The Titans secured the win in the 78th minute with Watts crossing under the posts after receiving a brilliant offload from Sam Swift before McGrady added the extras from in-front to give the Titans the 30-18 win.
The young Titans will look to continue their winning ways when they take on the Canberra Raiders at GIO stadium next Saturday.
Gold Coast Titans 30 (M Boyle 2, N Watts 2, B Kelly, B McGrady tries; T Roberts-Davis 2, B McGrady goals) defeated Wests Tigers 18 (J Jackson 2, V Mapesone tries; V Mapesone 3 goals).