A late try by Raiders centre Nick Cotric has seen the Gold Coast Titans Gold Training under-20s suffer a heart-breaking 34-32 loss to Canberra at Cbus Super Stadium this afternoon.
In a thrilling encounter, the young Titans took a slim four-point lead going into the final eight minutes of play before the classy Raiders centre Cotric, who had been a handful all game, broke through the Titans defensive line to grab his second try of the afternoon to tie the game up at 32-all in the 75th minute.
With the match up for grabs, Raiders captain Zac Woolford calmly stepped up to add the extras from Cotric’s try to give the away side the win.
Despite the loss, it was an impressive performance by the Titans with young halves AJ Brimson and Josh Ralph producing some great touches as the Titans scored six tries with centre Phillip Sami grabbing a double.
It was the visitors who opened the scoring in the fourth minute after Cotric sliced through the Titans defence before drawing-and-passing to halfback Logan Spaander to score untouched under the posts giving Zac Woolford an easy conversion for a 6-0 lead.
The Titans responded in the 12th minute with Ralph’s kick deflecting perfectly into Phillip Sami’s hands to score out wide before Brian Kelly added the extras to tie the match at 6-all.
Cotric continued to cause dramas for the Titans defence with the speedy centre showing some clever footwork coming out of trouble to bust through the line and race 70 metres downfield to score next to the posts. With Woolford converting, the Raiders took a 12-6 lead after 15 minutes of play.
A penalty gifted the Titans prime attacking position and they took full advantage with a slick attacking raid ending in Sami producing a great offload for Fred Keil to cross in the corner before Kelly added the extras for a 12-all scoreline.
The Titans took the lead for the first time of the match in the 28th minute when Ralph weaved his way through the Raiders defensive line before scoring under the posts to give Kelly an easy conversion and the home side an 18-12 lead.
Back-to-back penalties piggy-backed the Raiders down the field and they capitalised with utility forward Daniel Dole running a great line to collect a flat Woolford pass to cross untouched under the posts to give Woolford a conversion from directly in front to lock the contest up at 18-all going into the half-time break.
The Titans broke the half-time deadlock in the 50th minute with Sami receiving a deft Ralph short-ball to grab his second try of the afternoon but with Kelly’s kick bouncing astray of the upright the Titans had to settle for a 22-18 lead.
The Titans momentum continued and they extended their lead with David Pritchard cleaning up the scraps of a Brimson chip-kick to score in the corner and give the side a 26-18 lead with 25 minutes remaining.
The Raiders hit-back in the 58th minute with Jack Murchie slicing through some brittle Titans defence to race 45 metres to score under the posts to give Woolford an easy conversion to reduce the deficit back to 26-24.
But the Titans responded in great fashion with Brimson slicing through the middle of the ruck to put his side on the attack before producing a lovely short ball to a barnstorming Christian Mika to score adjacent to the posts before Kelly converted to give the home-side a 32-24 lead going into the final 15 minutes.
The Raiders ensured for a tight finish with Jack Williams crossing after barging through some tired Titans defence to reduce the Titans margin back to 32-28 going into the final eight minutes of play.
The Raiders comeback efforts were well and truly underway and it was again Cotric who was causing the Titans trouble to break through the defensive line and score his second-try to level the scores up at 32-all before Woolford calmly added the extras to give the away-side a slim 34-32 lead with three minutes remaining.
The Titans tried for a short kick-off but the Raiders were prepared and managed to hold the Titans at bay to come away with the 34-32 win.
The young Titans will look to hit-back next week when they take on the New Zealand Warriors next week.
Canberra Raiders 34 (N Cotric 2, L Spaander, D Dole, J Murchie, J Williams tries; Z Woolford 5 goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 32 (P Sami 2, F Keil, J Ralph, D Pritchard, C Mika tries; B Kelly 4 goals)