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Dolphins shake off determined challenge from the Titans

The Dolphins overcome some poor discipline and a determined Gold Coast Titans outfit to record a 26-14 win in their opening Pre-Season Challenge match at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Sunday.

Fielding an experienced team in comparison to the young Titans, the Dolphins were expected to start strongly and did so, scoring the first try of the match with superstar signing Herbie Farnworth crossing the line after a nice pass from birthday boy Isaiya Katoa.

However, the Dolphins lowered their intensity to invite the Titans into the game, an invitation they gladly accepted, with the visitors responding soon after with Tony Francis showing some flair to go over in the right side after a tap-on from Aaron Schoupp.

Francis - who last played in a losing Hostplus Cup grand final last year for the Burleigh Bears where he scored a hat-trick - was in again for a first-half double, giving the Gold Coast a well-deserved 8-4 lead at the break.

Tony Francis Try

At half-time, the Dolphins had only had 40 percent of possession and completed 7/12 sets after making five errors and conceding six penalties, while the Titans had completed 15/19 sets, made four errors and conceded three penalties. 

No doubt told where to make improvements during the half-time break, the Dolphins looked better in the second half and while winger Jack Bostock was initially denied a try by the Bunker, with replays determining the ball had been knocked on into a Titan in the lead up to him getting the ball down, they didn't have to wait long to regain the lead.

Jarrod Wallace was the man to do it, scoring an easy try against his old team when Harrison Graham hit him with a good ball as he ran back inside to score under the posts to level the scores. The Dolphins went ahead 10-8 after Brenton Baira slotted the first conversion of the evening.

The home side then quickly went back-to-back with Bostock getting his try for the match after an error from the kick-off gifted the Dolphins more possession. Baira was in for plenty of action to close out the match, scoring extend their lead.

Despite the momentum shift, the Titans weren’t done, with halfback Tom Steadman, who is on a train-and-trial deal with the club, going in to score and perhaps cause a flutter in the hearts of Phins fans.

The restart went out on the full, giving the Titans a chance to capitalise, but they in turn made an error by not finding touch, with Baira fielding the ball. 

The Dolphins then made sure not to continue the cycle of errors, with Baira’s burst upfield setting up their next try, a four-pointer to Connelly Lemuelu who eventually crashed over the other side of the field to finish the scoring for the evening.

Match Snapshot

  • Sitting in for Wayne Bennett for the Pre-Season Challenge match, Dolphins coach Kristian Woolf named a strong line-up, giving fans the first look at new signings Thomas Flegler, Herbie Farnworth and Jake Averillo.
  • The Titans already have an abundance of fullbacks in their ranks, but Tweed Seagulls talent Jaylan de Groot showed the production line continues with an impressive outing. 
  • Dolphins youngster Isaiya Katoa celebrated his 20th birthday with a win.
  • Des Hasler made six late changes before kick-off, deciding to start with his most experienced players to begin the match.

Herbie Farnworth Try

  • The Titans fielded only eight players with previous NRL experience overall in Aaron Schoupp, Harley Smith-Shields, Ken Maumalo, Tom Weaver, Iszac Fa'asuamaleaui, Klese Haas, Joe Stimson and Joe Vuna.
  • Klese Haas was put on report for a hair pull on Gerome Burns who had made a break through the middle of the Titans defence. 
  • At the end of the match, the Dolphins had conceded seven penalties and made 15 errors, while the Titans made nine errors and also conceded seven penalties.
  • Jarrod Wallace with 133 metres and Iszac Fa'asuamaleaui with 109 metres were the only forwards to top 100 metres in the match. 

'Grabbed by the pony tail!'

Play of the Game 

It's not often that the prop forward crosses for tries, so it was understandable that Jarrod Wallace celebrated strongly after going in for an easy four-pointer. The try also helped the Dolphins regain the lead after being frustrated by a determined Titans side. 

Jarrod Wallace Try

What's Next

The Dolphins will next head to Auckland to face the Warriors in Round 2 which will be a tough challenge with the home side going down to the Tigers in Round 1 by two points despite playing 60 minutes with 12 players .

The Titans head to Ipswich, home of their new affiliate club the Jets, to host the Parramatta Eels.

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.