The Gold Coast Titans have put in a gritty performance in Sydney, pushing the Canberra Raiders despite injuries to key players.
The Raiders won the game 20 points to 4, with the Titans losing both Jamal Fogarty and Anthony Don during the game.
The Titans home game was moved to Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Sydney after the COVID situation in Queensland forced the game away from Cbus Super Stadium.
The Titans showed that they were out to attack, threatening the Raiders defence from the opening set with a nice short side play setting the tone for the match.
It was the Raiders who opened the scoring. A lovely short ball from George Williams hit Elliott Whitehead who busted through a gap between the Titans co-captains. In space, the back rower found Croker and in-turn Rapana who finished in the corner.
The Raiders captain converted for a 6-0 lead.
The Titans first real chance came through Mitch Rein. The hooker had a strong start to the game at at the 12 minute mark he threatened to open the scoring for the Gold Coast. From 20 metres out, Rein beat three defenders, reaching out for the line and falling inches short.
Minutes later, it was Jarrod Wallace who starred. The prop leaping like a winger to take a Jamal Fogarty high ball. The ball found Tyrone Peachey who was able to kick through for a repeat set, but an error followed and the Titans weren’t able to capitalise.
Tino Fa’asuamaleaui was huge in the first half, described by Andrew Voss in the Fox League commentary as putting in a “real leadership performance”.
Anthony Don had a chance off a beautiful cutout ball from AJ Brimson, but despite diving into the right corner it was Jack Wighton who denied the Titans winger. After attempting a 40/20 minutes earlier and kicking out on the full, Wighton produced a try saver to make up for the error to deny the Titans veteran.
The Raiders extended their lead to eight at the 27 minute mark off Jarrod Croker’s boot after Tyrone Peachey was deemed to have played at the ball in a tackle.
Making an impact off the bench, Sam Lisone turned playmaker with the forward throwing a pass to put Fa’asuamaleaui into space. The next play saw Corey Thompson kick across field with Kevin Proctor providing the contest that led to a Canberra error. Off the following set, a nice shift right went through the hands of Jamal Fogarty and Patrick Herbert before finding Anthony Don who crossed the line. In review, the video ref uncovered that Don had dropped the ball while attempting to score with two Raiders forcing the error.
With two minutes left in the first half, it was Thompson who opened the Gold Coast account, finishing a great play down the left edge. David Fifita hit the defensive line but was able to get his right arm free, finding Tanah Boyd, then Phil Sami and finally Thompson who was able to roll his way over Charnze Nicole-Klokstad to score.
The Raiders took an 8 points to 4 lead into the halftime break, with both teams having cross for a single try.
It was Canberra who scored first in the second half, with Josh Papalii beating two Titans defenders to score. His converted try took the Raiders lead to 14 points to 4.
Jamal Fogarty battled injury through the first half and eventually came from the field with Tanah Boyd moving to halfback and Tyrone Peachey to five eighth.
The Titans first chance of the second stanza came with a Tanah Boyd high-ball looking for Anthony Don. The winger was taken out by Jordan Rapana, with Canberra unsuccessfully challenging the decision. The Gold Coast side couldn’t capitalise in the play that followed.
Already without their halfback and co-captain, the Titans also lost Anthony Don in the 63rd minute with the Titans winger in discomfort as he left the field.
The Titans threw everything at the Raiders over the final 20 minutes, but were unable to break Canberra’s defences.
Moeaki Fotuaika again was strong coming from the bench, Corey Thompson put in yet another inspired performance for the Gold Coast, but it was Tino Fa’asuamaleaui that was named the Titans best for an exceptional performance.
Ryan Sutton crossed in the final minutes to stretch Canberra’s lead, with the lock steaming over close to the line.
The win is Canberra’s third of the season, while the Titans sit with two wins and two losses.