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Armstrong hat-trick helps Knights extend winning streak against Titans

The Knights overcame the loss of star centre Bradman Best and a 12-point halftime deficit to extend their winning streak to four consecutive matches with a 28-24 defeat of the Titans.

Best was ruled out of the game at halftime with a hamstring injury in a blow to both the Knights and NSW Blues, but the Knights unearthed another star after rookie fullback David Armstrong grabbed a hat-trick of tries.

Armstrong was called up for his NRL debut four weeks ago after superstar fullback Kalyn Ponga was ruled out for three months with a Lisfranc injury and the Knights have won every game he has played.

The Knights got off to a dream start when Armstrong scored two tries in the opening nine minutes, but momentum shifted dramatically after a forward pass, penalty and six-again call in quick succession.

David Armstrong 1st Try

The Titans lost Ireland World Cup prop Jaiman Jolliffe with a suspected pec injury but they turned the game around in dramatic fashion after hooker Sam Verrills grubbered into the Newcastle in-goal for Klese Haas to score.

Gold Coast winger Alofiana Khan-Pereira maintained his remarkable try scoring strike rate when he crossed in the corner after a quick exchange of hands featuring halfback Tom Weaver, five-eighth Chris Randall and centre Brian Kelly.

Alofiana Khan-Pereira 1st Try

Weaver, who was Titans coach Des Hasler's only available playmaker after passing a late fitness test, helped put his side ahead in the 25th minute with a perfectly weighted cross-field kick for Jojo Fifita to score.

The try followed a kick by Hastings that bounced awkwardly in the Gold Coast in-goal and only just evaded Tyson Frizell, prompting the Knights halfback to verbal David Fifita and the pair engaged in a heated exchange.

Hastings sent to the bin

Hastings then took exception to a tackle by Aaron Schoupp soon after and the pair were sinbinned after becoming embroiled in some push and shove, but it was the Titans who took advantage. 

Fullback Keano Kini showed his speed when he backed up a break by forward Isaac Lui and raced 80 metres to score before Khan-Pereira got his second try while both teams were a man short.

Keano Kini Try

Trailing 24-10 at halftime and with NSW Origin centre Bradman Best unable to return due to a hamstring injury, the Knights started the second term like they did the first, with Armstrong scoring his third try after a break by Daniel Lucas.

Brodie Jones crossed in the 50th minute after Jack Hetherington knocked the ball loose from Kini near the Titans line and the interchange forward picked it and dived over to score.

Brodie Jones Try

The Knights regained the lead in dramatic circumstances after Titans prop Moeaki Fotuaika held back Jacob Saifiti as he chased a Hasting grubber in the Gold Coast in-goal in the 68th minute.

There was further controversy when Brian Kelly was disallowed a try by the bunker with four minutes to go after Jojo Fifita tapped back a Weaver kick but the Titans centre was deemed to have lost the ball as he reached for the line.

Match Snapshot

  • Knights centre Bradman Best was ruled out at halftime with a hamstring injury.
  • Titans prop Jaimin Jolliffe suffered a suspected pectoral tear and came from the field in the eighth minute.
  • Newcastle prop Jack Hetherington was placed on report for a high tackle.
  • Knights halfback Jackson Hastings and Titans centre Aaron Schoupp were sin binned in the 31st minute.
  • Gold Coast winger Alofiana Khan-Pereira has scored 28 tries in 30 NRL appearances, including 10 tries this season.
  • Rookie Newcastle fullback David Armstrong has scored five tries in four NRL appearances - four of which have been at Suncorp Stadium.
  • The Knights have won four of their past five games against the Titans.
  • Knights winger Enari Tuala made his 100th NRL appearance.

Razzle dazzle almost pays off

Play of the game

The Knights appeared to have lost their way at halftime and were without Bradman Best for the second term, but rookie fullback David Armstrong kick started their comeback with a stunning try in the 47th minute.  

David Armstrong 3rd Try

What they said

"I am very proud of the way they fought their way back into it. It was very difficult, we had injuries and we had injuries very early with Jaimin Jolliffe. It is very frustrating for the players, with the competition being so close and to go through what they went through for most of that half to get into a position to win the game," - Titans coach Des Hasler.  

Titans: Round 11

"The win is worth four points to us but the boys will have some time off, some will spend some time up here [Queensland], but you don't want to have a rock under your towel all week with a loss, so it is pretty good to get it done. When the opposition are down in troops and then you jump out to a quick lead, the biggest threat you've got is yourself not being disciplined to stick at it. To regroup and get back on track to how we have been playing ... it was a pretty big effort to turn around the scoreboard that way," - Knights coach Adam O'Brien. 

Knights: Round 11

What's next 

The Titans will return to Suncorp Stadium next Sunday to take on the Broncos, while the Knights have a bye.

Gold Coast coach Des Hasler will be hoping fullback Jayden Campbell (knee) and five-eighth Kieran Foran (hamstring) are able to return in the SEQ derby, but he is expected to be without prop Jaimin Jolliffe (pec).



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.