A spirited second-half comeback has fallen just short as the Aquis Gold Coast Titans have slipped to a 32-18 loss to the Sydney Roosters at Cbus Super Stadium tonight.
The Titans were totally out-enthused in the first-half with the energetic Roosters outfit putting on a dominant display to register five tries including doubles to Luke Keary and Latrell Mitchell to take a 28-0 lead into the break.
But Neil Henry’s men came out of the sheds from the break firing to produce three tries in 18 minutes through Anthony Don, Kane Elgey and Jarryd Hayne to reduce the deficit back to 28-18 after 63 minutes and ensure for an exciting finish for the 13,933 strong crowd.
But the deficit proved too steep a mountain to climb as the Roosters defence held strong for the final stanza of the match before Mitchell crossed for his hat-trick on the siren to bring the full-time score to 32-18.
The loss was also compounded with a shoulder injury to new recruit and co-captain Kevin Procter who was forced to sit-out the entire second-half.
It was the Roosters who opened the scoring in the tenth minute after Luke Keary produced a crafty left-foot step to slice his way through the Titans defence and register his first try for the tri-colours. Fellow new recruit Michael Gordon made light work of the conversion to give the away-side at 6-0 lead.
A penalty from the resulting kick-off gifted the Roosters prime field-position and they went back-to-back again targeting the Titans right-side defence with Mitchell crossing for his first to extend the lead out to 10-0 after 15 minutes.
The Titans struggled to mount any real momentum in the following sets and with the Roosters making easy metres up the middle they extended their lead in the 33rd minute with Keary proving a difficulty for the Titans edges to cut-through and bag his second of the night. With Gordon converting the Roosters took at 16-0 lead.
The Titans’ defence was caught short in the ruck in the following set with Mitchell Pearce receiving an offload to dart downfield and draw-and-pass to Gordon to score under the posts and give himself an easy conversion and his side a 22-0 lead.
The Roosters dominance continued in the final minutes of the half and with momentum and possession in their favour crossed for their fifth try through Mitchell who crossed for his second of the night before Gordon converted for a 28-0 lead going into the break.
The Titans started the second-half by turning defence into attack with Konrad Hurrell producing a solid tackle to force the ball loose before Don collected the scraps to run 85metres to score untouched under the posts giving Ash Taylor an easy conversion to reduce the deficit back to 28-6.
A penalty piggy-backed the Titans up-field and they looked to have gone back-to-back in the 48th minute through Don but were denied by the bunker who ruled his shoulder went into touch before getting the ball down.
There was no stopping the Titans in the 52nd minute with Elgey cleaning up the scraps to score under the posts after the Roosters failed to defuse a Taylor bomb. Taylor’s boot then added the extras to reduce the Roosters lead to 28-12.
A Taylor 40/20 put the Titans on the attack but they were unable to convert the possession into points with Chris McQueen dropping a tough short-pass over the line.
The Titans comeback was well underway in the 63rd minute when Jarryd Hayne collected a deft Taylor chip-kick to score adjacent to the posts and bag his first premiership match try for the club. With Taylor adding the extras the Titans trailed 28-18 going into the final 15minutes.
With the momentum in their favour the Titans forwards were marching through the Roosters defence with ease and despite forcing repeat sets on numerous occasions were unable to capitalise their possession into points.
The Roosters were rewarded for their defensive efforts in final minutes of the match with Mitchell supporting a Daniel Tupou break to grab his hat-trick and give his side the 32-18 victory.
The Titans will travel to Newcastle next week where they will look to register their first win of the season when they take on the Knights.
Sydney Roosters 32 (L Mitchell 3, L Keary 2, M Gordon tries M Gordon 4 goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 18 (A Don, K Elgey, J Hayne tries; A Taylor 3 goals)