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Kikau-inspired Dogs beat up on Titans

An ever-present Viliame Kikau led the way as the Bulldogs beat the Titans into submission on their way to a 32-0 shutout on Saturday afternoon. 

Kikau destroyed the Gold Coast last-tackle plan at times with his ferocious kick pressures, one of which ended in him scoring a try following a charge down in the first half, to help the Bulldogs end a six-game winless run which stretched back to July last year. 

The Fijian powerhouse added a try assist before full-time and was joined by centre Jacob Kiraz and off-season recruit Josh Curran as the individual standouts in a much-improved team effort from Cameron Ciraldo's men, following heavy defeats to the Sharks and Eels earlier in the month. 

Jacob Kiraz Try

In front of an animated crowd at Belmore Sports Ground the Gold Coast wilted, making 11 errors on a day in which they also lost captain Tino Fa'asuamaleaui to a knee injury which saw him unable to put weight on his right side as he was helped from the field by trainers. 

After a sloppy opening 17 minutes which saw a combined five errors and five penalties – and included Titans five-eighth Kieran Foran spilling the ball with an open line metres in front of him – Jacob Preston got the scoring started minutes after his side had a try ruled out by the Bunker for obstruction. 

A try goes begging early for the Titans

Kikau's charge down on a Tanah Boyd clearing kick then saw him left with a simple scoop and score, which after Matt Burton's second conversion gave Canterbury-Bankstown the 12-0 lead they took to the break. 

The hosts looked to have a third just two minutes into the second stanza, but Curran's effort was rubbed out when Burton was ruled to have obstructed a defender in the lead up. 

But they didn't have to wait long for more opportunities, with Reed Mahoney and Kiraz both scoring in the space of eight minutes to all but kill off the contest. 

That didn't trigger any let up from the Dogs though, with Connor Tracey grabbing Kikau's pass for a try in the corner before Blake Taaffe backed up a Mahoney line break for his first try as a Canterbury-Bankstown player. 

Match Snapshot

  • The result was the Bulldogs' biggest ever win over the Titans and the first time they have held a team scoreless at Belmore Sports Ground since 1996. 
  • Canterbury-Bankstown racked up 1,668 metres in running and made eight line breaks.
  • Tino Fa'asuamaleaui left the field with a knee injury which left him unable to put significant weight on his right side 14 minutes from full-time. 

Tino leaves the field with leg injury

  • Viliame Kikau came up with 14 carries for 110 metres in addition to scoring a try and setting a second up. 
  • The Bulldogs' win means the head-to-head record between the two clubs now sits at a perfect 12-12. 
  • Bulldogs prop Max King marked his 100th NRL appearance with a 103-metre effort in the middle. 

Play of the Game

A try that epitomised Viliame Kikau's efforts at Belmore Sports Ground. The Titans' playmakers will be having nightmares about the Fijian's kick pressures on Saturday and none more so than this one which he turned into a four-pointer. 

Viliame Kikau Try

What They Said

"Our attack, our end of set in particular, it just put so much pressure on our defence and we just came out of corners the whole day... there are fundamentals that we just didn't apply today. You can have 25,000 players back [from injury], but if you're not getting the fundamentals right it becomes tough." – Titans coach Des Hasler. 

Titans: Round 3

"It's easy after a couple of losses to change things around and stop believing in what you're doing, but I feel like everyone in the building kept believing in what we were doing, stuck to it, and today we got the result. I have been feeling that at training, that we are showing a lot of winning behaviours, it was just a matter of time before it came out." – Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo. 

Bulldogs: Round 3

What's Next

The traditional Good Friday showdown with the Rabbitohs awaits the Bulldogs up next, with star winger Josh Addo-Carr likely to be in the mix as he works back from a shoulder injury. The Titans are back home on the Gold Coast for a Queensland derby against the Dolphins on Saturday night and will nervously await test results on Tino Fa'asuamaleaui's knee. 

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.