The TFH Gold Coast Titans have broken a five-match losing streak with an entertaining 33-26 win over the Newcastle Knights at Cbus Super Stadium today.
It was a brave performance by the Titans whose ill-discipline resulted with the side being down to just 11-men at one-stage in the second-half with both Jarrod Wallace and Moeaki Fotuaika being sin-binned.
Despite being down 26-18 on the scoreboard and minus players, the home-side managed to level the scores up in the 69th minute to ensure an exciting finish for the 11,008 strong crowd.
With the match on the line, it was halfback Ash Taylor who stepped up by producing a deft kick for his halves partner AJ Brimson to collect the scraps and score a converted try to break the deadlock, before slotting a field-goal to give the side the 33-26 win and two competition points.
The Titans opened the scoring in the eighth minute after Michael Gordon contested an excellent Ash Taylor kick to get the ball back to AJ Brimson who threw a lovely cut-out pass for Phillip Sami to score in the corner. With Michael Gordon's converting from the sideline, the Titans took an early 6-0 lead.
The game turned into an arm-wrestle before the Titans swung the momentum in their favour by winning a scrum against the feed before marching down-field where they received a penalty directly in-front. With Gordon adding the extras, the Titans extended their lead out to 8-0.
But some ill-discipline by the Titans put the Knights on the attack and they capitalised through Sione Mata'utia who crossed before Brock Lamb converted to reduce the lead back to 8-6 after 29 minutes.
The Titans run of ill-discipline continued and with a penalty directly in-front, the Knights opted to lock the scores up at 8-all after 32 minutes through a Lamb penalty-goal.
The Titans earned a repeat set on the Knights line and took full advantage with Taylor taking on the line before producing a crafty offload to Dale Copley to score in the corner and give the side a 12-8 lead going into the half-time break.
It was a bad start to the second-half for the Titans with an error coming out of trouble compounded by the sin-binning of Fotuaika.
With the extra man, the Knights responded with barnstorming Herman Ese'ese running a brilliant line to score off a Slade Griffin pass out the back. With Lamb converting, the visitors took a 14-12 lead after 45 minutes.
A penalty piggy-backed the Titans down-field and they responded with a slick back-line play resulting in Copley charging at the line before producing a lovely offload for Sami to cross for his second try of the afternoon. Taylor stepped up to take over kicking duties and added the extras to give the Titans an 18-14 lead with just over 30 minutes remaining.
The Titans ill-discipline proved costly again in the 52nd minute with Wallace also being sent to the sin-bin for a penalty off a quick-tap. Despite the side having 11 players on the field for just over a minute, the Titans defence held-strong.
But still down a player the Titans were unable to hold the Knights out in the 58th minute with winger Ken Sio crossing in the corner to tie the match up at 18-all despite a last ditch effort by Gordon to hold him up. Lamb produced a quality kick from the sideline to give the Knights a 20-18 lead going into the final stanza of the match.
The Knights turned defence into attack in the 62nd minute with Sio collecting a Gordon kick before drawing-and-passing to Kalyn Pongo who burst through two would-be defenders to race 90 metres down-field and score. With Lamb keeping the record with the boot, the Knights shot-out to a 26-18 lead.
But with the Knights dropping the ball off the kick-off, the Titans were back on the attack and hit-back immediately with Brenko Lee drawing-and-passing to Anthony Don to score. With Taylor adding the extras, the Titans reduced the deficit back to 26-24 with 15 minutes remaining.
With the momentum in their favour the Titans were on the attack and after receiving a penalty 33 metres out from a Don break, opted to take the kick at goal. Taylor calmly slotted the kick to tie the contest up at 26-all with just over ten minutes remaining.
The Titans made their way into the Knights red-zone and received a penalty 20 metres out and ten in from touch and opted to take the kick but Taylor pushed it wide.
From the resulting set, the Titans hit-back to take the lead with a deft Taylor kick being batted back by Copley before being scooped up by Brimson to score in the corner. With Taylor converting from the sideline, the Titans took a slim 32-26 lead going into the final four minutes.
The Titans secured the match in the 78th minute with Taylor kicking a 30 metre field-goal to extend their lead out beyond a converted try at 33-26.
The Titans will look to keep their winning ways going when take on the Sydney Roosters at Central Coast Stadium next Saturday.
Gold Coast Titans 33 (P Sami 2, D Copley, A Don, A Brimson tries; A Taylor 4, M Gordon 2 goals; A Taylor 1 field-goal) defeated Newcastle Knights 26 (S Mata'utia, H Ese'ese, K Sio, K Ponga tries, B Lamb 5 goals)