Spectacular win at Penrith
Halfback Ash Taylor, with his halves partner Tyrone Roberts on the sideline injured, took the game by the scruff off neck in the final minutes to lead the Titans to a spectacular victory over Penrith at Pepper Stadium.
With what seemed to be a turning point going against the Titans, when Nathan Davis had a try turned down after a Taylor bomb and Penrith’s Leilani Latu scored in the resulting set, the Titans looked like they’d go down.
But Jamie Soward missed the conversion, giving the Titans nine minutes to win the game.
A towering Taylor bomb was fumbled by Penrith skipper Matt Moylan and Taylor dummied and ran from the resulting set and then converted to level the scores.
With two minutes remaining, urgent Titans defence smothered Peter Wallace who wanted to set for a field goal and he passed to Tyrone Peachey who fumbled. Taylor ran away with the ball, found Leivaha Pulu on support and he fed Anthony Don 30 metres from the line and he dived high to beat the cover and score the match-winner with less than a minute remaining.
The Titans’ first half defensive effort was tremendous, and despite Penrith having 60 per cent of possession, they crossed for only two first half tries.
The Titans got off to an unlucky start with the Panthers scoring against the run of play in the eighth minute.
Wallace attempted a 40-20 and Titans fullback William Zillman desperately tried to push the ball inside as it looked set to cross the touchline. However, Penrith winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak pushed up inside and grabbed the ball. Jamie Soward converted for a 6-0 Penrith lead.
Greg Bird crossed from close range, hitting the line strongly from 10 metres off Nathan Friend at dummy-half in the 15th minute and Tyrone Roberts converted for 6-all.
The Panthers were next to score after five straight sets on the Titans line - from two penalties in the ruck, a line drop-out and two fumbles by Titans forwards early in the tackle count.
The possession told in the mend and Tyrone Peachey crossed out wide on the left after a block play from the scrum, with Soward again converting.
But, as was the case on Monday night against the Roosters, Agnatius Paasi scored a determined, and important try, just before the break. Ryan James put him into a hole from an inside ball and Paasi shook off defenders and stretched pout to score next to the posts.
The score remained 12-all at half-time with the Penrith enjoying 60 per cent of possession, and five more sets.
The Panthers lost centre Peter Hiku five minutes into the second half and two minutes later the Titans lost Tyrone Roberts with a thigh injury, which meant Greg Bird had to go to five-eighth for the second time in the match after earlier Ash Taylor went to the head bin.
Penrith regained the lead 11 minutes into the second half when Soward goaled from a penalty for markers not being square.
After two successive penalties in Titans territory, Josh Mansour crossed for Penrith after fullback Matt Moylan brilliantly tapped on a ball under pressure and Mansour dived spectacularly just inside the left corner post.
Soward missed the kick so it was 18-12 Penrith but Nathan Peats ensured the home side didn’t keep the lead lone when he slid over from dummy-half next to the posts, leaving Taylor an easy conversion.
With 12 minutes remaining Nathan Davis looked had put the Titans in front for the first time when he leapt high over the Panthers defence to snatch a Taylor bomb. He went to the ground over the line and ref Henry Perenara signalled try but went to the video. However replays showed Davis lost possession as he tried to get the ball down.
In the resulting Panthers set after a 20m tap, Lelani Latu crossed for the Panthers after a pass from Segeyaro deflected off Luke Douglas’ hands into Latu’s grasp and he scored next to the posts. Soward converted for 24-18.
But the Titans weren’t done again. After the Matt Moylan fumbled a Taylor bomb, the Titans had six again and Taylor dummied and ran on the left from 10 metres and scored. He then converted to level the scores at 24-all.
Gold Coast 28 (Bird, Paasi, Peats, Taylor, Don tries; Roberts 2, Taylor 2 goals) beat Penrith 24 Penrith 24 (Watene-Zelezniak, Peachey, Mansour, Latu tries; Soward 4 goals) at Pepper Stadium.