The Aquis Gold Coast Titans have moved back into the top eight after scoring a convincing 30-10 victory over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Cbus Super Stadium tonight.
It was a courageous effort by the Titans who put in a strong performance coming off the back of a 10,000km road trip after successive matches in Perth and Darwin.
The Titans shot out to an 18-6 half-time lead and held out a fast-finishing Manly outfit to register their seventh win of the season to sit on 16 competition points in eighth place ahead of the New Zealand Warriors, Penrith Panthers and St George Illawarra Dragons on for-and-against.
Coach Neil Henry said it was an important win for his side against a Manly outfit who they expected to start strong.
“We knew they would come out pretty keen after last week leading comfortably and starting well against Penrith and it was up to us to match them and the starting 13 did the job,” he said.
“It got scrappy game there at times and we were still a bit loose around the ruck at a couple of times and we talked about that at half-time. But credit to the boys; they came out in the second-half and I think we defended a bit better, we were a bit stronger over the ball. It was very important game for us and the plus-20 points is good for the for-and-against.
“Our challenge now is on the six-day turnaround to play the Raiders who are coming off the bye and will come up full of running. We will rest up and see what we need to address, there was a lot to like about the performance but there is a bit to improve especially against a Raiders side who are playing good footy.
“It is a very tight competition, we had a little run of three games and it was important that we arrested that tonight and didn’t go to two losses, so again credit to the boys for bouncing back and hanging in the game.
“Consistency is what we need. When our halves and hookers are playing forward and our big men are running through the middle, which we saw a bit of tonight, we can gain good momentum and if we play that style we are better.”
Co-captain Nathan Friend said it was good to get the win after a long journey interstate the previous fortnight but the side will need to be at their best when they take on the Canberra Raiders next Sunday.
“We had a couple of days off early last week which freshened up the boys and got them right tonight,” he said.
“We are really keen to come back here next week against the Raiders who are determined and going really well.
“It’s always nice to play at home and hopefully next Sunday we can get a handy crowd, and we will perform once again in front of the home crowd.”
After withstanding an early Manly attacking onslaught, it was the Titans who opened the scoring in the 12th minute with Ryan James throwing a lovely cut-out pass back across the ruck to front-row partner Luke Douglas to score his first try since 2014 and give the Titans an early 6-0 lead.
Some heavy defence by the Titans forced Manly into touch and the Titans capitalised in the resulting set with winger Anthony Don finishing off a crafty backline play to score in the corner to give the home-side a 10-0 lead after 17 minutes.
With Manly kicking the resulting restart long, the Titans were gifted quality field position and they took full advantage with a great William Zillman offload putting Josh Hoffman over in the corner before Tyrone Roberts added the extras for a 16-0 lead.
A repeat set on the Titans line provided Manly with a golden attacking opportunity and they registered their first points of the night through winger Jorge Taufua who took a beautiful Tom Trbojevic offload before planting the ball down just inside the touchline. With Api Koroisau converting from the corner, the Titans lead narrowed to 16-6 after 30 minutes of play.
The Titans received a penalty directly in front of the posts and opted to take the kick at goal to extend their lead to 18-6 going into the half-time break.
An error from Manly in their first set from the kick-off gifted the Titans a great opportunity to extend their lead early and they did so through James who ran a great line before taking a Nathan Peats pass to score adjacent to the posts giving Roberts an easy conversion to edge the side out to a 24-6 lead.
The game went set-for-set before a Titans error compounded by a penalty put the Manly side in prime attacking position and they reduced the deficit back to 24-10 after stand-in five-eighth Pita Godinet fired off a lovely cut-out pass to a flying Brayden Wiliame to score in the corner.
The Titans put an end to any Manly comeback efforts through a late Nene Macdonald try with the winger showing great speed to chase down a Taylor grubber and plant the ball down before the dead-ball line before Roberts added the extras to give the Titans the 30-10 win.
The Titans will look to continue their winning ways when they take on the Canberra Raiders at home next Sunday.
Gold Coast Titans 30 (L Douglas, A Don, J Hoffman, R James, N Macdonald tries; T Roberts 5 goals) defeated Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 10 (J Taufua, B Wiliame tries; A Koroisau 1 goals). Crowd: 8278