The Aquis Gold Coast Titans have tonight come home strongly to defeat the Parramatta Eels 30-18 in front of 2,207 fans at ANZAC Oval in Alice Springs.
It was five tries to three at the end of 80 minutes with the Titans finishing stronger, scoring three of their tries in the final 10 minutes of play.
A positive to come out of the match is no injuries were suffered and all players reporting that they were healthy.
Coach Neil Henry made a couple of changes to his starting side named earlier in the week with Leivaha Pulu and Nathaniel Peteru brought into the starting side. Ben Nakubuwai and Morgan Boyle were the two men who pushed back on to the bench.
It was 35 degrees at kick-off but with unlimited interchange the medical staff were keeping a close eye on their troops with rotations high from both sides.
The Titans were under early pressure with the Eels getting three early penalties but John Olive was able to put a stop to the repeat sets when he jumped on a loose ball.
A string of penalties came the Titans way shortly after but the first points didn’t come until the 16th minute when Kane Elgey marked his return, giving a short ball off to Pulu who had run a great line. Pulu was able to run it around under the posts to score. Elgey added the extras from in front to give the Titans a 6-nil lead.
As the first quarter siren sounded, the Eels were awarded a penalty 10m to the left of the uprights and elected to take the shot at goal. Jamal Fogarty converted to reduce the gap but the Titans were leading 6-2.
It was a scoreless second stanza with the referees continuing to award penalties to both sides, giving neither the chance to get a roll on in attack. Both sides were struggling to hold on to possession also, as a host of changes were made.
The Eels got the jump to start the second half when Troy Dargan crossed in the 44th minute. The try was scored 15m to the right of the uprights and Matt Woods was able to convert, putting the Eels in front 8-6.
Ten minutes later the Titans grabbed the lead back with Tyler Cornish instrumental in putting the try on. It was a smart out the back play and with support runners he managed to send it out to Tyronne Roberts-Davis who beat the cover defence to the line. Cornish converted beautifully from the sideline to leave the scoreboard reading 12-8 in favour of the Titans.
The Eels went back to back in the 66th and 68th minute with Atini Gafa and Honeti Tuha grabbing the four-pointers. Fogarty was able to convert one of the tries, putting the Eels out to an 18-12 lead.
The closing 10 minutes was all the Titans with three tries being scored to grab victory. Elgey scored the first when he picked up the scraps from a bomb that was put up and scored next to the left upright. Roberts-Davis converted to level it for the second time in the match, 18-all.
Don scored in the 75th minute with some good structure shown and the Grafton junior finishing it off in the right hand corner. Elgey then swung it in from out wide and converted, with the scoreboard reading 24-18 with four minutes remaining.
With one minute remaining it was a couple of young guns who stole the show with a 100m try. Roberts-Davis picked up a grubber before weaving his way 60m down field before then finding a flying Phillip Sami who ran the remaining 40m basically untouched to score. Elgey converted, with the Titans locking in a 30-18 victory.
TITANS 30 (Pulu, Roberts-Davis, Elgey, Don, Sami Tries; Elgey 3, Cornish, Roberts-Davis Goals)
EELS 18 (Dargan, Gafa, Tuha Tries; Fogarty 2, Woods Goals)
At: ANZAC Oval, Alice Springs