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A hat-trick to Kieran Foran - the first of his NRL career - has helped the Titans end their 2023 campaign on a positive note with a 34-30 victory over the Bulldogs at Cbus Stadium on Sunday. 

Foran, who at 33 and after 282 games, tormented his former club to cross for a treble as the Titans piled on more pain against a Bulldogs outfit who surrendered a 12-0 lead early before clawing their way back throughout the afternoon.

A double to Foran within eight minutes of each other set the match up for the home side before the visitors struck back via a stirring solo effort from Josh Addo-Carr, who also crossed for three tries in a beaten side.

The Titans extended their lead before half-time with the Fa'asuamaleaui brothers - Tino and Izack - linking up to help send AJ Brimson over for a long-range team try. 

Kieran Foran gets a hat-trick

Bulldogs forward Kurtis Morrin finished off a cross-field kick to get Cameron Ciraldo's side back to within six points after the break but the 12-point advantage soon returned when Foran split them again on the left edge. 

Addo-Carr grabbed a second soon after as the game began to open up with Viliame Kikau doing enough to put the NSW and Kangaroos winger into space.

Canterbury should've got scores level immediately after with a repeat set not finished off by Matt Burton, who dropped the ball over the line after a sharp left step to get in the in-goal. 

Josh Addo-Carr Try

Burton's near miss proved costly with the Titans crossing next to give themselves another nice buffer with Brimson breaking through to send Kruise Leeming over the line - all while Jake Averillo left the field with a knee injury.

A try to Alofiana Khan-Pereira - his 20th of the season - put the Titans further ahead but the Bulldogs wouldn't go away with Addo-Carr finishing off a Hayze Perham linebreak and kick to score another stunning long-range try. 

The Bulldogs went within four of victory after Blake Wilson crossed on the full-time siren but it was too little, too late, as the Titans held on for victory.

Match snapshot

  • Referee Kasey Badger created history by becoming the second woman behind Belinda Sharpe to ever officiate an NRL match from the middle.
  • Titans playmaker Kieran Foran scored the first hat-trick of his NRL career with three tries in the match. 
  • Rookie Titans playmaker Thomas Weaver copped a nasty facial knock but passed a head injury assessment and finished the match. 
  • Bulldogs centre Paul Alamoti was placed on report for a high shot on Klese Haas, who was forced from the field for a head injury assessment.
  • Bulldogs winger Josh Addo-Carr has now scored 12 tries in his past six games against the Titans.
  • Titans prop Jaimin Jolliffe suffered a head knock which showed Category 1 concussion symptoms and did not return. 
  • Departing Bulldogs centre Jake Averillo suffered a suspected knee injury in the loss ahead of his move to the Dolphins in 2024.
  • Titans winger Alofiana Khan-Pereira has now scored eight tries in 11 games at Cbus Super Stadium.
  • Khan-Pereira became the fifth player in the NRL era to score 20 tries in a maiden season. 
  • The Titans finish the season with a 5-6 record at Cbus Super Stadium in 2023.
  • Josh Addo-Carr's hat-trick was the third of his Bulldogs career and seventh overall. 

Play of the game

Departing hooker Kruise Leeming finished it off but the Titans' try in the 65th minute allowed the home side some further breathing room immediately after the Bulldogs went close to a four-pointer through Matt Burton. 

Kruise Leeming Try

What they said

"It was similiar to a few games this year where we just had too many penalties and errors. I feel like a broken record saying that but I was really happy with the effort today. I thought we had our best defensive game in terms of tackling and energy in a long time. For the boys to turn up after the week that we've had I was stoked with that." - Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo.

NRL Press Conference: Titans v Bulldogs - Round 27, 2023

"It was an ugly game but if it's full-time and we've won it it's better than losing it. It was a good way to finish. Hopefully we've started the ball rolling a bit with shifting our mindset and what it takes to be a better footy team. We really fell away with players being unavailable through rehab or surgery so to finish with a lot of young kids playing footy and still win a couple of games is really positive but there's no doubt we've got a lot of work to go. I'm sure Des will sharpen that with the pre-season coming up." - Titans interim coach Jim Lenihan.

What's next

The 2023 campaigns for both clubs have finally come to an end after disruptive and rollercoaster seasons on and off the field. The Titans will look brand new in 2024 as they prepare for the arrival of Des Hasler while Canterbury have plenty to ponder after an underwhelming first season under Cameron Ciraldo. Several players are expected to feature in the Pacific Championships in October including World Cup winners Josh Addo-Carr and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui.

Acknowledgement of Country

Gold Coast Titans proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.