A hat-trick to winger Anthony Don has helped guide the Aquis Gold Coast Titans to a 20-10 win over the St George Illawarra Dragons at Cbus Super Stadium tonight.
It was a strong performance by the Titans with the side producing an attacking style of footy with Don reaping the rewards to bag three tries and join centre-partner Konrad Hurrell as the side’s top try-scorer with eight tries for the year.
The Titans performance kept the 13,140 strong crowd entertained as the whole team combined to come away with the win and register back-to-back wins for the first time since round-9.
With the win and the upcoming bye, the Titans have kept their finals hopes alive and will look to ride the momentum into their next match against the reigning premiers the Cronulla Sharks in two weeks time.
It was the Dragons who posted first points of the contest through a Gareth Widdop goal for a 2-0 lead after three minutes.
The Titans hit-back in the 11th minute after Anthony Don reeled in a deft Ash Taylor cross-field kick before producing a juggling act to plant the ball down and give his side a 4-2 lead.
The Dragons turned defence into attack after forcing an error on their own line to work the ball down deep into the Titans end. On the back of a penalty, the Dragons again opted to take the penalty goal and with Widdop converting they tied the game up at 4-all after 25minutes.
A penalty piggy-backed the Titans up the field and they took full advantage when they ran the ball on the last play to produce a series of quick passes down the blind-side to put Don across the line for his second try of the night. With Taylor’s kick being denied by the upright, the Titans took a 8-4 lead after 36minutes.
The Titans received a penalty for a late-hit on Taylor and opted to take the kick-at-goal to extend their lead through the boot of Tyrone Roberts and go into the half-time break leading 10-4.
It was end-to-end footy for the opening stanza of the second-half and it took some brilliance from Jarryd Hayne to break the deadlock with the fullback throwing a lovely cut-out pass for Don to cross for his hat-trick. With Roberts converting from in-front the Titans took a 16-4 lead with 25 minutes remaining.
Moments before the Titans try, the Dragons were forced into a reshuffle with fullback Josh Dugan coming from the field. The reshuffle didn’t stop them in the 58th minute with utility Josh McCrone starting a slick backline play resulting in Kurt Mann crossing in the corner before Widdop added the extras to reduce the Titans lead back to 16-10.
An error by the Dragons coming out of trouble put the Titans in prime attacking position and the visitors then compounded the error with a penalty to gift the Titans two points through a Roberts’ goal. With the conversion, the Titans extended their lead out beyond a converted try and lead 18-10 with ten minutes remaining.
With time running out, the Dragons attempted a short drop-out but it went out on the full to hand the Titans a penalty directly in-front and with Taylor adding the extras, the Titans took the 20-10 win.
The Titans have the bye next week before taking on the reigning premiers the Cronulla Sharks at home.
Gold Coast Titans 20 (A Don 3 tries; T Roberts 3, A Taylor 1 goals) defeated St. George Illawarra Dragons 10 (K Mann tries ; G Widdop 3 goals)