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Sharks bite hard in Coffs Harbour, injury concerns for Titans

A disappointing result and injuries to key players headline the Gold Coast Titans round 12 trip to Coffs Harbour.

The Cronulla Sharks were in total control in front of a capacity crowd at Coffs International Stadium, running out 38 points to 10 winners.

Match Highlights

The Sharks had won their last five games against the Titans, but it was the visitors who charged out of the blocks with a try coming in the third minute of the match.

Shaun Johnson had a kick roll dead in goal, giving the Titans a 20 metre restart and a seven tackle set.  The Gold Coast side marched up field and on the last play, 10 metres out, Tanah Boyd rolled a perfect grubber kick into the in-goal.  The bounce favoured Brian Kelly who was able to collect and score.

Five minutes later and the Sharks were on the board thanks to centre Jesse Ramien.  Cronulla had repeat sets close to the line and a good move to the right side that went through the hands of Blayke Brailey, Johnson and Matt Moylan was finished off by Ramien who hit a nice hole to score.

Toby Rudolph was lifted in the tackle from the kick-off, with Mitch Rein, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and Moeaki Fotuaika all involved.  Referee Chris Sutton put the tackle on report.

Repeated ruck infringements by the Titans as the Sharks attacked close to the line saw Fa'asuamaleaui sent to the sin bin.  Cronulla took the penalty goal from right in front to take a 8-6 lead after 13 minutes.

Ramien again had an impact minutes later, the centre fending off Tanah Boyd to make a line break.  Boyd didn't give up, chasing the Shark down to make the tackle.  On the next play, the Sharks went left with Will Chambers drawing defenders before flicking the ball inside to Ronaldo Mulitalo to score.

Siosifa Talakai gave the Gold Coast side a perfect chance when he juggled and dropped the ball as he attempted the first hit-up off the kickoff.  The Titans had a scrum in the centre of the field, only 12 metres out, but were unable to capitalise as a bad pass led to a knock-on.

Defending with 12, the momentarily held off Cronulla's threat with AJ Brimson holding up Mulitalo as he crossed the line and Anthony Don cutting off the next play with an intercept to give the Titans possession. 

Chambers caught Patrick Herbert with a high shot as the Titans worked the ball out of their defensive end, with the former Origin centre put on report and sent to the sin bin.  Herbert left the field for a HIA, with Beau Fermor slotting into the centres.

The Titans couldn't find the ball while Chambers was in the bin, and it was Cronulla who scored the next try.  Moylan held the ball to the defensive line, finding Will Kennedy and in turn Mulitalo who crossed for his second.

Titans best attacking chance came with eight minutes left in the half.  A last tackle play saw the ball with David Fifita who tried to keep the ball alive, however his pushed pass fell to Moylan who ran 50 metres downfield.

The Sharks rolled forward and it was a flat ball from Johnson that hit Jack Williams who was able to crash through close to the line for more points.

A frantic finish to the half saw both sides through the ball around, but neither could add points and it was Cronulla who took a 26 points to 6 lead into the break.

The Sharks led in all key statistics at the break and had a strong completion rate to match their advantage in possession.

Moeaki Fotuaika continued his strong form and had almost double the run metres of any other Titans forward in the first 40.

Jamal Fogarty broke the line early in the second half but couldn't find support.  The halfback had the ball back in the next play, kicking into the in-goal and looking for his halves partner.  Tanah Boyd was collected by Briton Nikora in the chase and the Sharks backrower was sent to the sin bin.

With a good chance close to the line, it was Kevin Proctor that tried to barge his way across but the co-captain couldn't hang on to the ball.

Beau Fermor left the field limping, the second rower playing no further part with a hamstring complaint.

Anthony Don made an uncharacteristic error under the high ball, giving the Sharks an attacking opportunity which Blayke Brailey capitalised on.  Close to the line, the hooker snuck through some Titans forwards to dive over.

AJ Brimson left the field with 25 minutes remaining as the Titans fullback struggled with a left knee injury.

Jaimin Jolliffe was also forced from the field with a HIA but later passed and returned.

Erin Clark was one of the Titans best and saved a try as Talakai crashed over the line.  Clark put his body in the way and manged to hold up the big Shark.

Connor Tracey crossed to take the score to 38 points to 6 as the Sharks continued to attack.

Clark continued a good individual performance, putting Fotuaika through a hole with the prop running 50 metres downfield.  There were no Titans there in support and the attack came to a quick finish.

A last play chip kick from Fogarty found Moylan, with the Sharks five-eighth running 65 metres.  Jarrod Wallace gave chase and it was a good effort by the Titans prop to cut Moylan down.  Wade Graham moved into dummy half and his pass hit Jamal Fogarty who was running back on-side for the Titans.  The referee deemed it foul play and despite arguing the point, the Gold Coast co-captain was sent to the bin for ten minutes.

Phillip Sami, playing fullback with Brimson off the field, continued to try his best and was able to stop Mulitalo scoring a hat-trick. The Sharks winger crossed for what looked like his third try but Sami was able to keep the ball from touching the grass.

With two minutes remaining, Kevin Proctor crossed to give the Titans their second try but it was Cronulla who were dominant running out 38 points to 10 winners.

With State of Origin selection to come in the next 24 hours, the focus will no doubt be on AJ Brimson's injury and how his knee recovers.

The Titans next test is against the Melbourne Storm, with a trip to the Sunshine Coast to take on the defending premiers in round 13 beckoning.