The TFH Gold Coast Titans have suffered a heart-breaking 10-9 loss to the Cronulla Sharks at Cbus Super Stadium tonight.
In a tight and thrilling contest for the 12,713 strong crowd, the Titans went into the final four minutes of the contest trailing by one-point after clawing their way back from a 9-2 half-time deficit.
With the contest hanging in the balance Ash Taylor stood up and slotted a 30 metre field-goal to even the scores up at 9-all with three-and-a-half minutes remaining.
But on the back of a Josh Dugan break, the Sharks got into great attacking position and halfback Chad Townsend landed his second field-goal of the night to hand his side the 10-9 victory.
After a frantic end-to-end start to the contest which saw Konrad Hurrell being held-up over the line, the Titans opted to settle things down with a Michael Gordon penalty-goal from giving the home-side a slim 2-0 lead after nine minutes.
The Sharks hit-back in the 12th minute with Valentine Holmes cleaning up the scraps of a Gordon dropped bomb to score out-wide for a 4-2 lead.
The Titans defence was put to the test with a string of penalties giving the Sharks a run of possession on their line but to their credit they withheld the onslaught.
But with all the possession and mounting pressure, there was no stopping the visitors in the 33rd minute with a scrappy backline play which saw a Dugan pass take a deflection and land with Edrick Lee who dove over to score in the corner. With Townsend's conversion attempt sailing wide, the Titans trailed 8-2.
The Sharks finished with an attacking set on the Titans line and Townsend cleverly slotted an all important field-goal to give the visitors a 9-2 lead going into the break.
The Titans opened the second-half strongly and clawed back the deficit when Mitchell Rein dove over from dummy-half for his first try in Titans colours. With Gordon adding the extras the Titans trailed 9-8 after 45 minutes.
The match turned into an arm-wrestle with both sides trading attacking sets but with both unable to crack their respective lines, the Titans went into the final stanza trailing by one-point.
The Titans looked to have broken the deadlock in the 57th minute with Gordon getting across the line but the bunker ruled the fullback was held-up.
Similarly the Sharks got across the line in the 74th minute but the bunker ruled no-try due to a double movement in the process of Kurt Capewell grounding the ball.
With just under four minutes remaining Taylor landed a field-goal for 30 metres out to level the scores up at 9-all.
But the Sharks responded in fine form with Dugan making a bust up the middle to put the side on the offensive before Townsend calmly claimed the match for his side with his second field-goal of the night for a 10-9 win.
The Titans will look to hit-back when they take on the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium next Saturday.
Cronulla Sharks 10 (V Holmes, E Lee tries; C Townsend goals; C Townsend 2 field-goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 9 (M Rein tries; M Gordon 2 goals; A Taylor 1 field-goal)