The Queensland derby turned into a demolition derby at Cbus Super Stadium, as the Broncos exerted their authority and avenged their Round 13 loss to the Gold Coast by swamping the Titans 34-12 at Cbus Super Stadium.
The Titans staged a gallant second-half resistance, the second term finished at 6-all, but simply gave the Broncos too much start after trailing 28-6 at halftime.
The Gold Coast are still struggling to find their rhythm and cohesion after a mid-season change of coaching staff, and while there were a number of solid individual performances, the Titans were never quite able to get it together as a team.
A 51st minute try to Anthony Don – wearing the unfamiliar No.22 jersey after being a late inclusion for the flu-ridden Brian Kelly – put the Broncos in with a shot at 28-12 in arrears. But for every question the Titans asked, it seemed the Broncos had an answer.
The NRL debut of English Test centre Kallum Watkins was one highlight for the Titans, with the former Leeds Rhinos showing a couple of touches of class at right centre, but he was well contained by the Broncos defence on a tough first night at the NRL office.
Fullback Michael Gordon overcame a horror start to finish as one of the Gold Coast’s best, while forward juggernauts Jarrod Wallace, Jack Stockwell, Moeaki Fotuaika and Jai Whitbread were strong in the middle.
Bryce Cartwright, playing his 100th NRL game, was another solid contributor for the Titans, but the Titans were never off the back foot all game.
Another Cbus Super Stadium horror show looked on the cards when the Broncos raced out to 22-0 led half an hour into the game.
Brisbane’s first try came in the 13th minute with the Titans heavily on the attack, and a sweeping backline movement looked set to give Watkins his first NRL try.
But fullback Michael Gordon elected to play long instead of short, sending a pass wide to winger Anthony Don. Unfortunately, Broncos flyer Corey Oates was awake to the plan, and latched onto the pass before racing 90 metres to score.
Gordon redeemed himself six minutes later when he produced a cracking tackle on a rampaging David Fifita, bringing the Broncos giant to the turf.
But Fifita did his best to milk a penalty, which was duly rewarded, and then Gordon received two handfuls of sin bin for his troubles, leaving the Titans a man short and on the ropes.
In his absence, Brisbane dominated possession and the scoreboard, with the Titans struggling to stem the flow as they were starved of possession.
But when Gordon returned, and Brisbane found themselves a man down when Tevita Pangai Jr was binned for flattening Phil Sami while the winger was taking a kick, a glimmer of hope emerged for the home side.
Finally getting to use the ball, the Titans used it well to build pressure, and some excellent work again from Gordon – who was in everything – got the Titans onto the board.
The fullback did well running a crash-ball line back through the middle of the ruck, accepting an inside offload from Nathan Peats and then outmuscling Anthony Milford to score beside the posts.
At 22-6, there was at least a sniff of a fightback, and an indication of what the Titans are capable of with the ball in hand.
But before senior coach Craig Hodges could get his team to the sheds for a charge-up, the Broncos scored again just second before the break to kick clear again at 28-6.
BRONCOS 34 (Kotoni Staggs 2, Corey Oates, Matt Lodge, Jamayne Isaako, Anthony Milford tries; Isaako 5 goals) d TITANS 12 (Michael Gordon, Anthony Don tries; Gordon 2 goals) at Cbus Super Stadium. Crowd: 16,201.