It wasn’t pretty, but it was gritty. In front of 11,315 fans at Cbus Super Stadium, the Titans returned to the NRL’s top eight with a 30 points to 20 over the Canterbury Bulldogs.
Fittingly, after re-signing with the Gold Coast for another five years, it was AJ Brimson who scored the winning try.
The Titans were the first to score, with Tanah Boyd setting up a nice passage of play down the left hand side.
The five-eighth dummied his way into space, finding Brian Kelly who was able to grubber a kick back inside for the trailing AJ Brimson to collect and score under the post.
It was a messy first 15 minutes, with both sides spilling the football to give the other a chance.
At the 17 minute mark, the Bulldogs crossed, but the play was called back by after review.
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak put the ball down, but it was deemed that Jarrod Wallace was taken out by the lead runner.
Five minutes later, it was the Titans who added another, with Tino Fa’asuamaleaui on the end of a nice pass from co-captain Jamal Fogarty.
A short ball at the line from the halfback hit his lock, and after beating one defender, he dragged another hanging on to his shorts towards the line before reaching out and scoring.
The Bulldogs first came after capitalising on a nice play down the left hand side. The Titans scrambling defence couldn’t cover as Nick Cotrick found space.
With Anthony Don and Phillip Sami converging, Chris Smith was able to hold them at bay to cross for the Dogs first.
With four and a half minutes until halftime, it was some Brimson magic that sparked the Titans.
Catching a Bulldogs bomb in his own defensive end, Brimson exploded once his feet hit the ground, beating defenders as he dashed 40 metres downfield.
The fullback linked with Anthony Don, but the winger lost his footing 30 metres out from the line. Off the next play, the Titans added points.
Tanah Boyd beat a defender with a deft dummy, finding Brian Kelly with footwork to beat a couple more. Kelly hit Phillip Sami and it was the winger who crossed for the Titans third try.
The Dogs had one more play of their own before the halftime buzzer, with Nick Cotrick crossing to see the scores finish 18-10 after the first 40.
A swinging arm from Dylan Napa six minutes into the second half saw the former Origin forward sent to the bin after collecting Jarrod Wallace high.
The Titans prop was able to get to his feed and moments later he had his first try for the season. Erin Clark, who had replaced Mitch Rein at dummy half, threw a nice flat ball to Wallace who spun his way across the line. The converted try gave the Gold Coast a 24 points to 10 lead.
Kevin Proctor went on report and minutes later Beau Fermor was sent to the bin as the Titans were penalised for high shots.
With the Titans down to 12 men, the Bulldogs capitalised on the extra man with Nick Meaney crossing in the left corner.
Fermor dashed down the sideline as he tried to get back into the defensive line with the Bulldogs attacking just 10 metres out from the Titans line.
As he rejoined the line, the Dogs went through the middle, with Luke Thompson crashing over beside the posts to close the gap to just four.
A short side raid from Tanah Boyd looked promising, with the five-eighth rolling a ball into the in-goal looking for Kelly but it was batted dead.
Unable to score in that passage, it went down to the dying minutes before Moeaki Fotuaika split the Dogs through the middle.
The Origin forward found space and was able to find his Maroons team-mates, with Brimson backing up to finish off a nice try. Fogarty’s conversion gave the Titans a 10 point lead.
Gold Coast will head to Coffs Harbour in round 12 to take on the Cronulla Sharks as they look to continue their push into the top eight.