The Gold Coast Titans under 20s side have suffered a 38-24 loss to the reigning premiers the Sydney Roosters at Cbus Super Stadium in the opening round of the season tonight.
The young Titans showed glimpses of their potential for the season in the hard-fought loss, but it was some poor defensive patches and errors coming out of their own end which gifted the Roosters prime attacking position.
The Titans started the match slowly and found themselves going into the half-time break trailing 20-6 after the Roosters forward pack dominated the ruck with lock-forward Victor Radley bagging a first-half double.
The Titans managed to claw their way back into the match in the second-half by taking better control of possession to register three tries but were unable to contain the class of the Roosters attacking outfit who crossed for three of their own with Radley grabbing his hat-trick to guide the Roosters to the 38-24 win.
It was the Roosters who opened the scoring in the 11th minute after prop-forward Joseph Ratuvakacereivalu made a bust through the middle before drawing-and-passing to Radley who raced 50 metres to score his first try of the night under the posts. With Sean O’Sullivan converting from in-front the visitors took a 6-0 lead.
The Titans hit-back in the 16th minute after a crafty piece of play from halfback AJ Brimson, who snuck his way across the line from dummy-half to plant the ball down despite the attention of three Roosters players. Tyronne Roberts-Davis added the extras to tie the game up at 6-all.
The Roosters hit-back in the 21st minute with Radley crossing for his second-try of the night before O’Sullivan added the extras for a 12-6 lead.
The Roosters went back-to-back in the 30th minute after a loose ball found space out wide for Adam Pompey to slice through before racing around to put the ball down under the posts to give O’Sullivan an easy conversion and his side an 18-6 lead.
The Titans got across the line in the 36th minute but were denied by the referee who ruled the last pass went forward.
The Roosters were awarded a penalty in the final minutes of the half and opted to take the kick at goal to extend their lead out to 20-6 going into the half-time break.
It was a good start to the second-half for the Titans, with pivot Ethan Roberts pouncing on a loose ball from a Roosters error to score under the posts giving Roberts-Davis an easy conversion to reduce the deficit back to 20-12 after 45minutes.
But the Roosters hit-back straight away with Radley grabbing a hat-trick after supporting a bust from his fullback on his own line to race 50 metres to plant the ball down under the black-dot and gift O’Sullivan another easy conversion for a 26-12 lead.
The Roosters extended their lead in the 54th minute with second-rower Sitili Tupouniua producing a barnstorming run to force his way across the line. O’Sullivan kept his perfect record with the boot to give the visitors a 32-12 lead going into the final 25 minutes.
The Titans commenced their comeback in the 60th minute with utility Moeaki Fotuiaka cleaning up the scraps of a Roberts’ grubber to plant the ball down adjacent to the posts before Roberts-Davis quickly added the extras to reduce the Roosters lead to 32-18.
But the Roosters put an end to the comeback efforts in the 67th minute with utility Lachlan Lam slicing his way through some tired Titans defence to plant the ball down next to the posts. O’Sullivan’s conversion extended the away-side’s lead out to 38-18.
The Titans finished the match strongly with Brimson crossing for a double in the final minutes to reduce the full-time deficit back to 38-24.
The young Titans will head to McDonald Jones Stadium next week and will look to register their first win for the season when they take on the Newcastle Knights.
Sydney Roosters 38 (V Radley 3, A Pompey, S Tupouniua, L Lam tries; S O’Sullivan 6 goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 24 (AJ Brimson 2, E Roberts, M Fotuiaka tries; T Roberts-Davis 4 goals)