The TFH Titans have narrowly gone down 20-12 to a depleted Sydney Roosters outfit at Cbus Super Stadium tonight.
It was a hard-fought contest with both sides feeling the effects of Origin but it was the Roosters who handled the restructures better with their three debutants all crossing for tries.
The turning point of the contest came just before the half-time siren with a controversial bunker decision favouring the visitors with Cooper Cronk's replacement Sean O'Sullivan awarded a try despite appearing to knock the ball and give the visitors a 14-6 lead at the break.
The Titans then conceded a second-half try to trail 20-6 going into the final 20 minutes but when Jarrod Wallace scored a try in the 62nd minute, the10,074 strong home-crowd had hopes of a comeback.
Wallace crossed the stripe for what appeared to be his second-try in the 70th minute but the bunker this time over-ruled the on-field decision to disallow the try forcing the Titans had to settle for the 20-12 loss.
The Roosters opened the scoring in the eighth minute through a Sio Siua Taukeiaho penalty-goal to take a slim 2-0 lead.
The Roosters looked to have extended their lead in the 13th minute when Nat Butcher cleaned up the scraps of an Ash Taylor error but a last ditch effort by fullback Michael Gordon forced the ball free.
There was no advantage from the Taylor knock-on and the Roosters went back on the attack from the scrum-feed and there was no stopping them with Luke Keary throwing a deft short-ball to debutant Momirovski to score. With Taukeiaho converting the Roosters took an 8-0 lead after 16 minutes.
But the Roosters were unable to get to their kick following points and the Titans capitalised on the error with Jarrod Wallace producing a miracle offload for Moeaki Fotuaika to score his first NRL try. Gordon added the extras to reduce the deficit back to 8-6.
The Titans were reduced to 12-men in the 26th minute with Will Matthews being sin-binned on the back of repeated infringements on the Titans goal-line.
The Roosters looked to have capitalised with the extra man when Blake Ferguson crossed but they were denied by the bunker with Isaac Liu impeding AJ Brimson in the defensive line.
The Roosters extended their lead in controversial fashion in the 35th minute through replacement half O'Sullivan who ran a brave line before colliding with Wallace who managed to strip the ball out. It appeared O'Sullivan knocked the ball onto the posts before he regathered and planted it down, but to the bewilderment of the crowd, the bunker ruled otherwise and awarded the try. With Taukeiaho converting the try, the Rooster shot-out to a 14-6 half-time lead.
The second-half turned into an arm-wrestle with both sides trading possession, but it was the visitors who extended their lead with Poasa Faamausili completing the Roosters debutants treble to score a barnstorming try next to the posts giving Taukeiaho an easy conversion and the side a 20-6 lead with 20minutes remaining.
The Roosters then lost Keary to the sin-bin after tackling Taylor without the ball on the back of a Brimson break.
On the back of the penalty, the Titans went on the attack and Leilani Latu threw a nice short-pass to Wallace to barge his way over and plant the ball down next to the posts. With Gordon adding the extras, the Titans were back in it trailing 20-12 with 18 minutes to go.
The Titans looked to have gone back-to-back through Wallace but the bunker over-turned the on-field decision and awarded a Ryan James obstruction.
The Titans continued to chip away at the Roosters defence but it stayed strong and they were forced to settle for the 20-12 loss.
The Titans will look to hit-back when they take on the Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium next Saturday.
Sydney Roosters 20 (P Momirovski, S O'Sullivan, P Faamausili tries; S Taukeiaho 3, B Ferguson 1 goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 12 (M Fotuaika, J Wallace tries; M Gordon 2 goals)