The New Zealand Warriors have defeated the Gold Coast Titans 19 points to 6 in a physical clash on the Central Coast.
In hot conditions, the match had drinks breaks at the 20 minute mark of each quarter as both sides found their feed in their first NRL match of 2021.
The start of the match was a grind, with neither side able to find the ascendency.
Jarrod Wallace and Moeaki Fotuaika were strong through the middle, and in his Titans debut, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui showed glimpses of his best.
The Warriors tested the wing of Anthony Don early, but the Titans veteran was equal to the challenge.
The Titans had chances, and after the first drinks break Ash Taylor went centimetres away from scoring after a dummy and a dash.
Despite multiple sets on the Warriors line, the Titans couldn’t crack the home defence of the home side.
The New Zealanders opened the scoring through Bailey Sironen in the 25th minute.
The Titans best chance of the first half came from a counter attack, with AJ Brimson finding Corey Thompson coming out of the defensive end with the winger dashing 50 metres up field. The Titans built pressure with repeat sets but again the Warriors defence held strong.
It was just the one try separating the two sides at the halftime break, with the Titans having the best chance in the early stages of the second half.
Kevin Proctor crossed the line but the try was denied by the video ref who ruled that Patrick Herbert had touched the ball in the preceding aerial contest.
The Warriors stretched their lead to 18, with two un-answered tries.
The first came through Leeson Ah Mau in the 51st minute, before Kodi Nikorima added further points in the 68th.
The Titans first points came through Corey Thompson, with the winger having a strong game. He finished of a nice ball movement to the left to close the margin to 12.
Despite pushing hard towards the finish, the Titans couldn’t cross the Warriors line with the home side running out winners.
Chanel Harris-Tevita finished the game with a field goal right on the full-time siren to give the Warriors a 19 points to 6 win.
The Gold Coast will be looking to rebound with a win at home on Friday night, when the Titans play their first home game of 2021 in front of a full Cbus Super Stadium against the Broncos.