Close loss for Young Titans
An unlikely double to prop Max King was not enough to stop the Gold Training Gold Coast Titans under 20s from going down 34-28 to the Cronulla Sharks at Cbus Super Stadium tonight.
In a tight contest which saw the lead change on five occasions it was the Sharks who took the advantage going into the half-time break with a 28-16 lead.
The Titans ensure for a tight finish by scoring the next two tries to go into the final 15 minutes of the match tied up at 28-all.
But the Sharks finished the match the stronger of the two sides and scored a try in the 72nd minute to hand the young Titans their 12th loss of the year and remain in 11th spot on the competition ladder.
It was the Titans who opened the scoring in the fourth minute through Christian Mika who finished off a lovely attacking raid down the right edge. With Tyrone Roberts-Davis conversion sailing wide the Titans had to settle for the 4-0 lead.
Back-to-back penalties gifted the away-side a perfect opportunity and they took full advantage through late-inclusion Josh Tuilagi who sliced through the defence to score out-wide before Rhys Davies added the extras to give the Sharks a 6-4 lead after ten minutes.
But an error from the Sharks from their resulting set put the Titans back on the attack and they capitalised through Max King who barged his way through two would-be defenders to plant the ball down next to the posts. Roberts-Davis converted to give the Titans a 10-6 lead.
It was an end-to-end contest and it was the Sharks who responded in the 18th minute when they spread the ball from one side of the field resulting in Tuilagi diving over to plant the ball down just inside the corner post for his second try of the afternoon. With Davies converting the Sharks a slim 12-10 lead.
The Titans responded in the 26th minute with crafty hooker Jordan Scott finishing off a neat set play to score next to the posts and give Roberts-Davis an easy conversion and the Titans a 16-12 lead.
The Sharks then posted back-to-back tries through Lachlan Stein and Jayden Walker to take the lead back for the third time of the night and go into the final minutes of the half 22-16 up.
With the momentum in their favour, the Sharks then scored a try on the half-time buzzer through second-rower Ash Nisbet to extend their lead out to 28-16 going into the half-time break.
The Titans started the second-half strongly with Phillip Sami crossing before Roberts-Davis added the extras to reduce the deficit back to 28-22.
Both sides were reduced to 12-men in the 57th minute with Roberts-Davis and Tuilagi being sent to the sin-bin.
The Titans levelled the match up at 28-all in the 62nd minute when King barged over for his second try of the night. With Roberts-Davis still in the sin-bin Josh Rogers converted the try.
The Sharks broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute through winger Sione Katoa who made a bust to race 30 metres to score under the posts giving Davies an easy conversion to take the Sharks out to a 34-28 lead.
The Titans had one-last attempt to level up but the Sharks defence held strong to take the 34-28 victory.
The Titans will look to hit-back when they take on the New Zealand Warriors next week.
Cronulla Sharks 34 (J Tuilagi 2, L Stein, J Walker, A Nisbet S Katoa tries; R Davies 5 goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 28 (M King 2, C Mika, J Scott, P Sami tries; T Roberts-Davis 3, J Rogers 1 goals)