An injury-ravaged Aquis Gold Coast Titans outfit have produced an enormously courageous effort to register their first win for the season in a 26-14 victory over the Parramatta Eels at Cbus Super Stadium tonight.
Going into the match with a backline shortage, the night was made worse for the Titans with William Zillman succumbing to a calf injury in the opening 20 minutes forcing a reshuffle with Tyrone Roberts dropping back to fullback and debutant Tyler Cornish pushing out to the wing.
Despite this blow and finding themselves trailing 12-0 early on, the Titans showed a great amount of courage and heart to produce a first-half comeback through tries to Chris McQueen and Cornish to tie the match up at 12-all going into the half-time break.
The Titans second-half effort was even gutsier, with a number of players playing out of position, the side managed to hold the slick and elusive Eels attacking performance try-less.
The Titans were rewarded for their defensive efforts with Kane Elgey and Tyrone Roberts both crossing for tries from kicks to take the 26-14 win and two competition points.
It was the Eels who opened the scoring in the eighth minute through Clint Gutherson who supported well to reel in a Beau Scott offload to score under the posts to give himself an easy conversion and the side an early 6-0 lead.
The Eels forced another repeat set on the Titans line in the 16th minute and capitalised with a barnstorming Semi Radradra breaking through before getting a pass back in-field for Jeff Robson to score next to the posts before Gutherson added the extras to give the Eels a 12-0 lead.
The Titans were forced into a reshuffle following the try with winger William Zillman coming from the field with a calf injury leaving utility Ryan Simpkins to replace Tyrone Roberts at hooker, with Roberts dropping back to fullback and Tyler Cornish to go to the wing.
The Titans looked to have crossed in the 19th minute but the bunker ruled Cornish’s foot had gone into touch before getting the ball.
There was no stopping the Titans in the 28th minute with Chris McQueen taking advantage of a quick play-the-ball from Joe Greenwood to scoot over and score before Ash Taylor converted to reduce the deficit back to 12-6.
The Titans backline woes worsened in the 34th minute with Konrad Hurrell needing to come from the field for a HIA test after copping a heavy tackle from Nathan Brown.
Despite the mounting injury concerns the Titans continued to create attacking opportunities and took full advantage of a full set on the Eels line when Kane Elgey produced a cut-out pass to put Cornish over in the corner for his first career try. With Taylor converting from the sideline after the half-time buzzer, the Titans levelled the scores up at 12-all going into the break.
The Titans’ got Hurrell back for the start of the second-half but the injury-curse continued with utility Ryan Simpkins coming from the field for a HIA.
The Eels received a penalty in-front n the 45th minute and opted to take the kick-at-goal with Gutherson’s conversion giving the away-side a 14-12 lead.
The Titans responded in the 51st minute with Elgey crossing down the blind-side after Taylor’s first kick ricocheted perfectly for the halfback to toe it on and regather to score. Taylor then added the extras to give the Titans an 18-14 lead.
A good kick-chase from the Titans in the resulting set forced an error by the Eels coming out of trouble and they compounded that with a penalty to gift Taylor an easy conversion to take the Titans lead out to 20-14 with just under 25 minutes remaining.
The game turned into an arm-wrestle with both sides trading possession but it was the Titans who broke the stalemate in the 73rd minute when Joe Greenwood batted down a Taylor kick before Roberts dived on the loose ball to score. With Taylor adding the extras the Titans took a 26-14 lead with six minutes remaining.
The Titans managed to hold the Eels defence at bay in the final minutes to come away with their first victory for the 2017 season.
The Titans will take on the North Queensland Cowboys at Cbus Super Stadium next Saturday night.
Gold Coast Titans 26 (C McQueen, T Cornish, K Elgey, T Roberts tries; A Taylor 5 goals) defeated Parramatta Eels 14 (C Gutherson, J Robson tries; C Gutherson 3 goals)