The Gold Coast Titans Gold Training under 20s side have fallen to back-to-back losses after going down to the Melbourne Storm at Cbus Super Stadium this afternoon.
In a dour contest which saw the lead change on six occasions and both teams struggle to hold possession in the slippery conditions, it was the young Storm outfit who managed to remain composed when it mattered to come away with the 26-18 win.
Despite the loss there were some good signs for the young Titans with centre Brian Kelly crossing for two tries in his first game back in six weeks after suffering an ankle injury early in the season.
It was the Titans who opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Kelly forced his way through three would-be defenders before slamming the ball down to give his side an early 4-0 lead.
The contest turned into an arm-wrestle and it was the Storm broke the stalemate in the 25th minute when hooker Sam Burns crossed from dummy-half with the assist of the goal-post before Jesse Arthars added the extras to give the away-side a 6-4 lead.
With a mountain of attacking possession, the Titans re-took the lead in the 35th minute when Josh Rogers cleaned up the scraps from a Storm error to plant the ball down next to the posts and give Tyronne Roberts-Davis an easy conversion and the Titans a 10-6 lead.
A Titans error coming out of trouble gifted the Storm one last attacking set before the half-time break and they capitalised through Joel Gittins who out-leapt his opposition number to pluck the ball out of the air and plant it down on the sideline. With Arthars adding the extras, the Storm took a 12-10 lead into the half-time break.
The see-sawing nature of the contest continued with the Titans posting the first points of the second-half through Roberts-Davis who cleaned up a Rogers’ grubber to give the Titans a slim 14-12 lead going into the final 30minutes.
The Storm responded in the 58th minute through centre Curtis Scott who cut back through the Titans defence to score under the posts to give Arthars the easy kick-at-goal to take the Storm to an 18-14 lead.
In the following set the Storm were awarded a penalty directly in-front of the goals from 25 metres out and they opted to take the kick as goal to extend their lead out to 20-14 with 20 minutes remaining.
The Storm extended their lead in the 73rd minute after a break up the middle of the ruck created space for bulking centre Angelo Leaupepe to barge through the scrambling defence on the following play-the-ball down to score under the posts gifting Arthars an easy conversion to give the Storm outfit a 26-14 lead.
The Titans got the ball back with a short kick-off and ensured for a close finish with Kelly crossing in the corner in the 76th minute to reduce the deficit back to 26-18.
The Titans had one last attacking raid, but the Storm defence held strong and the away-side took the 26-18 victory.
The Titans will look to hit-back next week when they take on the Sydney Roosters at home.
Melbourne Storm 26 (S Burns, J Gittins, C Scott, A Leaupepe tries; J Arthars 5 goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 18 (B Kelly 2, J Rogers, T Roberts-Davis tries; T Roberts-Davis goal).