The Gold Training Titans under-20s are still only two points outside of the top eight despite a loss against Parramatta yesterday and some inconsistent form around a large injury toll in the past month.
Ben Woolf’s young side could not back up a gutsy victory against Souths the previous weekend, going down 30-10 to the fourth-placed Eels at Ringrose Park yesterday.
They were well in the match with 20 minutes remaining at 16-10 before the Eels piled on two late tries and two penalty goals while the Titans failed to take advantage of several opportunities.
The Titans were behind 12-0 until just before half-time but could have been much closer. A nice pass by Josh Rogers to centre Phillip Sami was ruled forward in a 50-50 decision when a try was on offer then later in the half Sami had the ball knocked out of his hands over the line when he seemed set to score.
It was the final minute of the first half before the Titans posted their first points. AJ Brimson put centre Christian Mika through from a short ball and he offloaded back to Brimson who threw long to winger Jordan Birch who scored.
That made the score 12-4 at the break.
The Eels went to 16-4 before Justin Fai wriggled out of a two-man tackle close to the line after a tap penalty to make it 16-10 with Josh Rogers’ conversion with 25 minutes remaining.
The Eels caught the Titans’ defence out when they grubbered on the last tackle and the Titans players were slow to react and turn, then – after getting the ball from a short kick-off – their prop scored from close range, bumping off several defenders, to make it 26-10.
Roberts was strong before retiring with a shoulder injury while the middle men Max King, Nathan Watts and Simione Fatafehi played well, working hard during their long stints.
The team is hopeful of having skipper Jed Cartwright (shoulder) and Junior Kiwi prop Kurt Bernard back for next Monday’s clash with Manly at Cbus Super Stadium.