The Titans NYC side have today registered their second win of the season with a 34-30 victory over the Warriors across the Tasman at Mt Smart Stadium.
Coach Ben Woolf was able to start the match with the 17 men that were named earlier in the week and it didn’t take long for the Titans to open their account with Corey Manicaros going over to score in just the fourth minute. The hooker started and finished the play that was a shift from left to right that saw centre Daniel Brownbill sneak through and when he got to the fullback, found Manicaros on the inside to then go over and score. Captain Ethan Roberts converted the try giving the Titans an early 6-nil lead.
An error from prop forward Moeaki Fotuaika from the restart gifted the Warriors possession and they turned it straight into points. Hooker Erin Clark took a dart from dummy-half and when he drew in the defenders, he managed to get an offload away and halfback Dylan Tavita was there to take the ball and go over to score. Centre Kane Telea couldn’t convert with the Titans holding on to a 6-4 lead after eight minutes.
Back to back sets gave the Warriors good field position and as we’ve seen at this level for a long time, it was able to be turned into points. Five-eighth Chanel Harris-Tavita was the orchestrator and he took the ball down the short side before getting the pass away over the top to winger Lewis Soosemea who went over to score in the left hand corner. Telea couldn’t convert from out wide with the scoreboard now reading 8-6 after 16 minutes.
Three penalties in a row had the Titans camped in Warriors territory and just as Coach Woolf would’ve liked, the halves took control. It was Roberts on this occasion who jinked off his right foot close to the line before then barrelling his way over to score 10m to the right of the uprights. He was able to convert his own try with the Titans jumping back into the lead, 12-8, after 30 minutes of play.
The home side received a penalty to give them a piggy-back down field and again they turned it into points. Harris-Tevita was again calling the shots and after Brownbill shot out of the defensive line, the five-eighth tipped it on to his back-rower Preston Riki who went over untouched to score. Halfback Dylan Tavita converted to put the Warriors back in front, 14-12.
It was the perfect start to the second half for the Titans with Alexander Brimson taking the reigns and after employing his soccer skills, helped Jordan Birch score the try. Brimson put the chip over the top, then soccered the ball on and after an error from the Warriors fullback, Birch ended up with the ball to score. Roberts superbly converted from the sideline with the Titans taking over the lead, 18-14 after 43 minutes.
After what was an outstanding second half for Brimson, he was able to score his own try after an 80-metre set of six turned the tide. With the Warriors on the back foot, Brimson took the ball to the line and simply slid through the gap to score. Roberts couldn’t convert from out wide on this occasion, score now 22-14.
Back to back tries in the 63rd (Moeaki Fotuaika) and 65th (Curtis Dansey-Smaller) locked in the side’s second win for the year and it was off the back of ruck speed and players pushing up together on both occasions. Roberts converted both of the tries with the young Titans jumping out to a 34-14 lead.
The Warriors scored three consolation tries in the final 10 minutes to give the Titans a scare but they were able to hold on for a 34-24 victory across the Tasman.
TITANS 34 (Manicaros, Roberts, Birch, Brimson, Fotuaika, Dansey-Smaller Tries; Roberts 5 Goals)
WARRIORS 30 (Tavita, Soosemea, Riki, Vaeau-Mulitalo, Lelea, Popoalii Tries; Tavita 3 Goals)
At: Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland