The Aquis Gold Coast Titans have been beaten 21-20 by Canterbury in golden point extra-time after yet another valiant come-from-behind effort at ANZ Stadium.
The Titans fought back to 20-all after being behind 20-8 15 minutes into the second half and had chances to secure the wind as they lifted in intensity and started to dominate the Bulldogs late in the game.
But they could not find the elusive field goal with Tyrone Roberts missing with three shots. Three and a half-minutes into extra-time Josh Reynolds secured the win for the Bulldogs.
The Titans were able to score the first try for the first time since the round one victory over Newcastle when Zeb Taia crossed for his fourth try of the season in the ninth minute.
It was the Titans’ first venture into the Bulldogs’ half and they ran the ball on the last to the left. Late addition to the team, Cameron Cullen, put Taia into space close to the line with a neat short pass. Tyrone Roberts converted for 6-0.
It was a good start after the Titans had to repel three sets on their line as the Bulldogs had the best of the territory early.
The Bulldogs scored the next three tries though to give them a 14-8 half-time lead.
The first came off a Josh Morris break down the left side. At the end of the set the Bulldogs ran the ball, which they did several times, and Tony Williams held up a pass on a short left side and it deflected from the hands of Titans winger Anthony Don who was confronted with an overlap and Curtis Rona saw it bounce straight into his hands and he just squeezed over in the corner.
Kerrod Holland missed the conversion but 10 minutes later the Bulldogs took the lead through a try to Sam Perrett in the right corner. The raid began with a good Josh Jackson charge and offload to Holland which saw him get within 10 metres of the Titans line.
Three tackles later Josh Reynolds threw a long ball to Perrett with an overlap and he crossed. Holland again missed for the Bulldogs to lead 8-6 after 25 minutes.
A Tyrone Roberts penalty goal levelled the scores at 8-all after 36 minutes despite the Bulldogs having more possession and certainly territorial advantage.
Four minutes before the break Will Hopoate scored the Dogs’ third try after Williams gave Moses Mbe space on the left and he broke clear and had several players in support on the inside. Holland converted for a 14-8 half-time lead.
The Bulldogs had 57 per cent of the first half possession and a lot more metres which indicated their dominance of possession and territory but the Titans’ defence on their line was generally very good.
The Titans started the second half well and pressed the Bulldogs line but it was Canterbury who scored first through Josh Jackson. It came from a great pass from Josh Reynolds 10 metres out after he spotted Cullen come out of the line and attempting an intercept. Holland converted for 20-6.
The Titans were not done though and with 16 minutes remaining the score was reduced to a six-point margin.
Greg Bird had just returned from the head bin when he sent as good cut out pass that put David Mead on the outside of Perrett 25 metres out from the line and he scored in the left corner. Roberts converted from the touchline to make the score 20-14.
With nine minutes remaining the game was thrown wide open when Josh Hoffman ran 90 metres after pouncing on the ball when Reynolds flopped back a Mybe crossfield kick and Hoffman anticipated well and could not be pulled in. Roberts converted for 20-all.
The Titans lifted in intensity and kept the Bulldogs in their own half for most of the last nine minutes but could get in position for a field goal. Kierran Moseley then elected to grubber on the last with teammates unaware and Hopoate ran the ball back into space and put the Bulldogs onto attack and in field goal zone.
They were in perfect position for a field goal with 30 seconds remaining and the ball went to Mbye just to the left of the posts and an incredible charge down by Ryan James out of dummy half saved the moment and we went into extra time.
The teams went into golden point and Roberts had a shot from 30 metres almost in front but the ball went to the left of the posts. The Bulldogs burrowed upfield well and Reynolds landed the heart-breaking punch.
Bulldogs 21 (Perrett, Rona, Hopoate, Jackson tries; Holland 2 goals, Reynolds field goal) beat Titans 20 (Taia, Mead, Hoffman tries; Roberts 4 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Crowd: 11,450.