Our Gold Training Titans under-20s have pulled off one of their most spirited victories of the season in a wet and windy North Sydney Oval this afternoon.
The Titans came from 12-6 behind in the second half to beat South Sydney 14-12 off the boot of polished five-eighth Josh Rogers who had the goalkicking duties for the first time.
The young Titans were missing no less than nine players who would have been in the 17 to open the season but displayed the depth and determination of the squad with the crucial win that keeps them in touch with the top eight.
The rain poured constantly from the 20-minute mark and the cross wind was so strong at one stage a sideline table blew onto the field.
“It was a nice tough win, and a real credit to a lot of young guys in the team who haven’t had a lot of NYC experience,” said jubilant coach Ben Woolf.
“There were a lot of errors at crucial times in the tough conditions, and a lot of things we didn’t do well, but we ground them down for a well-deserved win which was pleasing considering there were so many new players there.
“The bottom half of ladder was starting to drop behind off the top half, so crucial for us to get the points today and stay in touch.”
Rookie half AJ Brimson combined well with Rogers who led the side around the field while prop Nathan Watts revelled in the heavy conditions and led from the front, playing good minutes.
Brimson set up the Titans’ first try when he jumped into dummy half from a quick play the ball near the Rabbitohs’ line and put prop Simione Fatafehi into enough space for him to crash over the line. Brian Kelly converted for 6-0.
Souths scored just before half-time through a short-range try that was converted and went ahead 12-6 early in the second half with another converted.
A bit of individual class from Junior Kangaroo Brian Kelly, who played strongly at fullback despite the stormy conditions, saw the Titans level the scores with Rogers converting.
A 40-metre kick return from Kelly had earlier swung momentum back to the Titans. Then he went down the sort side, grubbered ahead, and had a deflection from a Souths defender and was able to pounce on the ball over the line.
Rogers lined up the conversion attempt from the touchline into the strong wind yet landed the goal to make it 12-all.
With eight minutes remaining Rogers had a penalty kick at goal from 30 metres out and 15 metres to the left of the posts which was not an easy kick in the conditions but he coolly landed it to give his team what ended up being the winning margin.
Gold Training Titans 14 (S Fatafehi, B Kelly tries; Kelly 1, J Rogers 2 goals) beat South Sydney 12 at North Sydney Oval.