QTR FINAL: The Titans have equalled their best-ever performance at the NRL Nines, booking a semi-final appearance with a 24-0 shut-out of Manly in the quarter-finals.
The Titans were ruthless and relentless, again looking sharp in attack and – more crucially – watertight in defence against a Manly team that had impressed during the pool stages, keeping their line intact.
Even in the final minute, with the result beyond doubt, Jai Arrow still put in a big effort to get back and clean up a kick into the in-goal to deny Manly a face-saving try and ensure the Gold Coast kept a clean scoresheet.
As it has been all tournament, the Titans’ attitude was spot-on.
It was fitting Arrow came up with the last play, because he scored the try to get the Titans rolling in the third minute of play, latching onto a beautiful grubber from Tyrone Peachey after some quality lead-up work from Bryce Cartwright.
Titans fans had been hoping that the attacking style of Nines footy would awaken the skills of Cartwright and Peachey, and the pair duly delivered with starring roles in the first half as the Titans ran riot.
Cartwright produced a brilliant chip and chase, then served up a perfect pass to his left, for Sami’s first try. Sami was the beneficiary again two minutes later when Peachey delivered a sweet pass to put the winger away.
Just before halftime, Jonus Pearson enjoyed the longest dummy-half run of his career, catching the Manly defenders asleep at the ruck to scorch down the blindside and score in the corner.
The Titans led 16-0 at oranges, but it could have been even more with better luck in the goal-kicking department, with zero return from four difficult shots.
It mattered little. The Titans were clearly enjoying their footy and letting the scoreboard take care of itself.
It duly did, with Mitch Rein and Anthony Don adding two more tries in the second half as the Titans ran away with the game.
In all the Titans scored six unconverted tries to nil.
TITANS 24 (Phillip Sami 2, Jai Arrow, Jonus Pearson, Mitch Rein, Anthony Don tries) d SEA EAGLES.