Gold Coast Titans, you little beauty!The Titans’ NRL campaign has roared to life with an ultra-impressive 30-12 win over the Broncos in a brilliant Queensland derby at Suncorp Stadium.
The Titans finally strung together the performance Gold Coast fans have been waiting for and did it in style, with the biggest ever win over their northern neighbours to ignite their season and clear the bottom rung of the ladder.
The 18-point victory eclipsed the 34-18 win the Titans posted against the Broncos at Robina in 2009, and condemned the Broncos to their fifth-straight loss.
It was a breathtaking victory in every respect. A first half domination that saw the Titans clear out to a 22-0 lead at halftime, a fightback from a resurgent Broncos team in the second half to jangle the nerves, and then ultimately some terrific class and composure to nail the coffin shut with a super try to 50-game winger Phil Sami.
It seems an obvious statement to say it was the Titans’ best performance this year, but given the dominance they displayed, and the adversity they had to overcome with a glut of penalties and six-again calls against them, it was probably one of the best wins in years.
You could take your pick of Titans heroes – with basically every player in the 17 firing for the Titans to deliver a win for the ages.
The Titans led 22-0 at halftime, and while they were not flawless, they ticked the box for just about every other superlative you could think of.
Their intent was obvious early.
While last week they had come out to meet the Dragons looking flat and unmotivated, against the Broncos the Titans were brimming with energy and intent from the opening whistle.
Brisbane’s first set of six from the kick-off saw the home side only make 35 metres – a stunning reward for Gold Coast’s brutal and enthusiastic defence against the Broncos’ much-vaunted pack.
That defensive steel allowed the Titans to build pressure with a vice-like grip, and it returned dividends in the seventh minute when Dale Copley, Anthony Don and Keegan Hipgrave forced a turnover by pushing Corey Oates over the right-hand sideline on the first tackle.
By the fifth tackle, the ball had moved the left-hand side, and Ash Taylor had the vision and confidence to back himself with a dart from dummy-half down the skinniest of blindsides to score a tough try.
That right edge combination worked together again in the 20th minute to get the Titans’ second try, with Copley running an effective decoy and Hipgrave serving a tap-on pass to Don to score in the corner.
Hipgrave’s pass hit the grass, and Brisbane’s defence just stopped in their tracks as a result, giving Don all the space he needed to cross in the corner.
As the clock struck the 30-minute mark, the Titans were in again – riding on the back of energy and enthusiasm, with Sam Lisone bulldozing his way under the posts after Tyrone Peachey worked some magic to clean up a spilled bomb and deliver a wonderful pass for the big prop’s first try as a Titan.
But just as the Titans were flying with a 16-0 lead, it looked as if Lady Luck was again coming with a big stick to knock them back to earth.
Some very tough calls against them, including a ridiculous sin-binning of Moeaki Fotuaika two minutes before halftime for an alleged professional foul, and some simple errors kept the Broncos’s pulse beating.
But a glorious 60-metre intercept try to Don 14 seconds before the siren, and another impressive goal from Taylor, kicked the Titans further clear to an unthinkable 22-0 lead at the break.
TITANS 30 (Anthony Don 2, Ash Taylor, Sam Lisone, Phil Sami tries; Taylor 5 goals) d BRONCOS 12 (Ben Te’o, Herbie Farnworth tries; Farnworth 2 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Crowd: 6262