The Titans showed plenty of fighting spirit to twice dig themselves out of deep holes to salvage a 24-all draw with Cronulla in the nine-a-side scrimmage game at Cbus Stadium.
The pick-up game between players not included in the 17-man NRL squads had a bit of everything, with some brilliant attacking football and juicy defence in glorious sunshine at Robina.
With the Titans’ NRL backline stocks taking a hammering with injuries in recent weeks, Kea Pere and Treymain Spry picked an opportune time to make a statement and impress coach Justin Holbrook – bagging five tries between them.
Pere picked up a hat-trick and Spry a double, and both looked terrific in general play.
Young half Toby Sexton was another to impress, showing plenty of confidence to back himself and experiment with a few things – not always successfully – to look the goods as a future playmaker for the Titans.
The Sharks jumped out to an 8-0 lead after just seven minutes, with the Titans sluggish and seemingly more keen on using arms than shoulders in defence to let Cronulla run through the line at will.
But Spry’s quick-fire double in the 8th and 10th minutes quickly squared the ledger and ignited the Titans, Spry both times combining with Sexton down the left edge to find room.
The second try was a brilliant individual effort from Spry, who careered 30m down field on an angled run, looking menacing with the ball in one hand.
Sexton was the next to shine in the 12th minute, blasting through four Sharks defenders in the middle of the field on a tough, hard run, and then positioning Ioane Seiuli beautifully with a one-handed off-load to give the Titans the lead.
The Sharks squared it up at 12-all at halftime, and the two teams traded scoring blows in the second half until Cronulla pushed clear with a 24-16 lead.
Sexton showed class to lead the Titans out of trouble, working the left side with Spry to put Pere over in the 10th minute, and then beautifully holding up a pass to put Sam Stone through a gap three minutes later.
Stone found the ever-present Nathan Peats in support, and the hooker patiently waited for a hole to open before delivering a one-way ticket to the tryline for Pere to bag his third.
The Titans had a bit of luck, with the Sharks nearly scoring the match-winner from the restart, but some desperate Titans defence forced an error with the game at Cronulla’s mercy, and the Gold Coast escaped with the draw.
TITANS 24 (Kea Pere 3, Treymain Spry 2, Ioane Seiuli tries) drew SHARKS 24 at Cbus Super Stadium.