The Aquis Gold Coast Titans have suffered a 26-4 loss to the Wests Tigers at Cbus Super Stadium this afternoon.
Going into the match with their season on the line, the Titans were forced into a backline reshuffle with John Olive a late withdrawal. The team looked out of sync early on and found themselves trailing 4-0 going into the half-time break.
The Titans then trailed 14-0 after 46 minutes, but gave the 11,156 strong home-crowd a glimmer of hope in the 52nd minute with Jarryd Hayne crossing.
But the home-side was unable to mount any further momentum with the Tigers crossing for two-late tries to hand the Titans their 12th loss for the year.
The Titans are still a mathematical chance of making the finals, but the task becomes all the more difficult with the side needing to win their remaining five matches and have other results go their way.
It was the Tigers who opened the scoring with a crafty backline play resulting in Esan Marsters running onto a deft James Tedesco pass to score next to the posts for a 4-0 lead after four minutes.
The Titans looked to have got across the line in the 18th minute through Jarryd Hayne but the bunker ruled Morgan Boyle knocked-on after having the ball raked.
The Tigers were then denied in the 32nd minute with the bunker ruling Tedesco ran behind his own player in the lead-up to planting the ball down.
In an end-to-end remainder of the half neither side was able to break the deadlock which saw the Tigers take a slim 4-0 lead into the half-time break.
After a repeat set on the Titans line, the Tigers managed to extend their lead in the 45th minute in controversial fashion with Tedesco losing possession of the ball but the tenacious fullback managed to get his shin to the ball before it hit the ground to then race through to score. With Tui Lolohea adding the extras the Tigers lead 10-0.
With the early momentum in their favour, the Tigers went back-to-back Luke Brooks darted down the blind-side before drawing-and-passing to Malakai Watene-Zelezniak who crossed in the corner to extend the visitors lead out to 14-0 after 46 minutes.
But a penalty swung the momentum in the Titans favour and they took full advantage with Hayne slicing through the defensive line before reaching out to plant the ball down and reduce the deficit back to 14-4 with 26 minutes remaining.
The Tigers put any hopes of a Titans comeback effort on hold in the 65th minute when Chris Lawrence crossed finding a hole in some poor Titans defence to score next to the posts. With Lolohea converting, the Tigers lead extended to 20-4 with under 15minutes remaining.
The Tigers finished the contest in fashion with skipper Aaron Woods barging his way across the try-line to bag his first try of the season. With Lolohea adding the extras the Tigers took the 26-4 win.
The Titans will look to hit-back next week when they take on the Brisbane Broncos on Saturday at Cbus Super Stadioum.
Wests Tigers 26 (E Marsters, J Tedesco, M Watene-Zelezniak, C Lawrence, A Woods tries; T Lolohea 3 goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 4(J Hayne try)