Under-20s squander big lead
The Gold Training have let slip a commanding 20-6 lead early in the second half to suffer their second straight defeat, at the hands of Cronulla Sharks 32-20 at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
The young Titans led 16-6 at half-time and when forward Simione Fatefahi scored early in the second half it was looking like they were headed for their fourth win in six rounds.
But too many costly unforced errors and defensive lapses on the edges saw the Sharks score five second half tries and have all the running in the final 20 minutes.
Hooker Corey Manicaros opened the scoring for the Titans in the eighth minute, scoring on debut when he scurried from dummy half the first time he decided to run. Tyronne Roberts-Davis converted from short range.
The Sharks looked like they were in for a try minutes later when second-rower and captain Jayden Walker broke through some soft defence from 40 metres but lost the ball over the line as the cover desperately converged.
The Titans received a penalty 10 metres from the Sharks line after their fullback Ryan Cummins fumbled a Tye Barry bomb and a teammate picked the ball up in an off-side position. Big prop Kurt Bernard thrust 120kg frame straight into the defensive line and twisted out of a three-man tackle and planted the ball for a try next to the posts.
Roberts-Davis’ conversion made it 12-0.
The Sharks scored their points nine minutes before half-time. Jed Cartwright was off getting a head wound stitches and Justin Fai had to fill in at right centre. Rhys Davies targeted the right edge and broke through between Fai and Ethan Roberts to score.
A strong bust by bench forward Kelepi Faukafa gave the Titans the ascendancy again. Faukafa burst through the line inside the Titans’ half and passed inside to the supporting Robert-Davis who held off the cover and scored wide out on the left.
He was unable to converts, so the Titans went to the sheds for the break leading 16-6.
Simione Fatefahi scored early in the second half, running a good line off five-eighth Josh Rogers. Roberts-Davis missed the kick for the Titans to lead 20-6.
But soon after the Sharks struck back with a long-range try to impressive centre Lachlan Stein which was converted, for the Titans’ lead to be cut to 20-12.
From then it was all the Sharks as they piled on three tries in the final 10 minutes to snatch victory comfortably in the end.
Sharks 32 (Stein 2, Davies, Savage, Kennedy, Tuilagi tries; Aufaga-Toomaga 4 goals) def. Gold Training Titans 20 (Manicaros, Bernard, Roberts-Davis, Fatefahi tries; Roberts Davis2 goals)