The Aquis Gold Coast Titans have jumped to seventh position on the NRL ladder with a comprehensive 34-14 victory over the Parramatta Eels at Cbus Super Stadium tonight.
It was a great way for the Titans to kick-start the Festival of Footy with the side putting in a spectacular performance with yet another high completion rate of 85% to entertain the 15,273 strong home crowd.
Young halves pairing Ash Taylor and Tyrone Roberts controlled the game perfectly and guided the team to a season high 94% first-half completion rate and take a 14-4 lead into the break.
The Titans continued their momentum into the second-half and posted three second-half tries with Taylor grabbing his own in the last minute of play to take the win and skip ahead of the Penrith Panthers on for-and-against on 22 competition points.
Back-to-back penalties gifted the Titans the first attacking opportunity of the match and they took full advantage through Konrad Hurrell. The barnstorming centre barged his way through four would-be defenders to cross for his first try at home and give his side the early 4-0 lead.
The Eels looked to have hit-back in the 11th minute but the bunker ruled winger Bureta Faramo lost possession in his attempt to ground the ball.
On the back of the dropped-ball, the Titans went the length of the field and extended their lead with wingers Nene Macdonald and Anthony Don combining. Macdonald ran in-field and put a deft cross-field kick across to an open Don to score untouched out wide for an 8-0 lead.
The Titans forced a repeat set through a deft grubber kick and capitalised on their great attacking position in the 19th minute when Ash Taylor threw a crafty short-ball to Chris McQueen who forced his way across the line. With Tyrone Roberts missing both conversions from this side of the field, Taylor took over the kicking duties to give the side a 14-0 lead.
The Titans lost utility hooker Nathan Friend in the 35th minute of play with a hamstring strain.
It went from bad-to-worse for the Titans with a penalty gifting the Eels attacking position and they registered their first points of the afternoon through Kenny Edwards to reduce the Titans lead back to 14-4 going into the half-time break.
The Titans were awarded a penalty directly in-front in the 47th minute and opted to take the kick at goal to extend their lead out to 16-4 on the back on Taylor’s conversion.
The Eels ensured for an interesting final stanza of the match with flying winger Bevan French reeling in a deft Clint Gutherson grubber before grounding it in a summersault motion just inside the dead-ball line. With Gordon’s attempt sailing with the Titans lead 16-8 with 20 minutes remaining.
The Titans put an end to the Eels comeback efforts in the 66th minute with a Roberts attacking kick finding a leaping Nene Macdonald who plucked the ball out of the air to post his ninth try of the season with five coming from Roberts’ boot. Taylor converted to give the Titans a 22-8 lead into the final 13 minutes of play.
The Titans went back-to-back in the 74th minute with McQueen grabbing his second-try of the night after receiving a brilliant Hurrell flick pass. With Taylor’s conversion sailing in with the assistance of the post the Titans took the 28-8 lead.
The Eels scored a late try through playmaker Jeff Robson who sliced his way through some soft Titans defence to score under the posts giving Gordon an easy conversion to reduce the deficit back to 28-14 going into the final minutes.
But the Titans finished the match in style with Taylor taking an intercept from a Gordon pass to race 45 metres down field and score untouched under the posts before converting his own try to give the Titans the 34-14 win.
The Titans will look to continue their winning ways when they take on the red-hot Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks next week.
Gold Coast Titans 34 (C McQueen 2, K Hurrell, A Don, N Macdonald, A Taylor tries; A Taylor 5 goals)defeated Parramatta Eels 14 (K Edwards, B French, J Robson tries; M Gordon 1 goal)