The Gold Training Gold Coast Titans under-20s have suffered a 36-24 loss to the Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium this morning.
The young Titans went into the match full of confidence after back-to-back wins and shot out to a 16-10 half-time lead after producing a strong defensive effort in the first-half.
But Ben Woolf’s team was unable to contain the Knights in the second-half with the home-side producing five second-half tries to run away with the match and take the 36-24 victory.
The Titans were made to do a lot of work early in the piece with the Knights getting four consecutive sets on their line but they were rewarded for their defensive efforts to open the scoring through halfback Josh Ralph who scored under the posts to give Josh Rogers an easy conversion for a 6-0 lead.
But an error by the Titans gifted the Knights prime attacking position and they took full advantage in the 12th minute with Cory Deniss crossing to reduce the Titans lead back to 6-4.
The Titans responded in the 19th minute through winger Fred Keil who made a break to race downfield and score outs-wide. With Rogers unable to convert, the Titans had to settle for the 10-4 lead.
The Titans went back-to-back in the 24th minute with fullback AJ Brimson’s kick bouncing up nicely for Ralph to collect it and grab his second-try for the day before Rogers converted to give the side a 16-4 lead.
But the Knights hit-back in the 36th minute through winger Kainoa Gudgeon who reeled in a Tom Starling kick to score. With Braden Robson converting the try, the Titans lead was narrowed to 16-10 going into the half-time break.
The Knights started the second-half strongly with prop Cameron King barging his way across the line to score in the 43rd minute to reduce the deficit back to 16-14.
The Knights took the lead for the first time in the match in the 49th minute after forward Sam Stone crossed and Deniss added the extras to give the home-side a 20-16 lead.
With the momentum in their favour, the Knights extended their lead with King barging over for his second try of the afternoon before Nick Newman added the extras for a 26-16 lead with 25minutes remaining.
The Titans mounted their comeback efforts in the 62nd minute with Christian Mika capitalising on a Knights error to score in the corner. With Rogers kick missing, the Titans trailed 26-20.
But the Knights put an end to the Titans comeback hopes in the 71st minute with winger Matt Soper-Lawler showing great strength to spin through the defensive line to score and extend the home-side’s lead out to 30-20 going into the final minutes.
It was an exciting finish to the match with both sides trading tries in the final two minutes. The Titans crossed first in the 78th with Keil grabbing his double but then from their short kick-off the Knights regathered the ball to score through Jack Cogger to push the full-time score out to 36-24.
The Titans will look to hit-back next week when they take on the Penrith Panthers at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday.
Newcastle Knights 36 (C King 2, C Denniss, K Gudgeon, St Sone, M Soper-Lawler, J Cogger tries; B Robson 2, N Newman 1, T Amey goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 24 (J Ralph 2, F Keil 2, C Mika tries; J Rogers 2 goals)