Gold Coast Titans 22
Tries: James (25), Mead (31), Donn (74)
Goals: Siezer 5/6
Cronulla Sharks 23
Tries: Holmes (38, 59), Lewis (50), Bird (71)
Goals: Gordon 3/4
Field Goal: Holmes
VALENTINE Holmes slotted a golden point field goal as Cronulla Sharks put last weeks’ heartbreak behind them to snatch a 23-22 victory over Gold Coast Titans at the Cbus Super Stadium.
The Sharks had trailed until Jack Bird’s 71st minute try and their lead only lasted three minutes as Anthony Donn levelled the scores to take it to golden point.
Then 19-year-old Holmes stepped up to seal a victory for the plucky Cronulla side who outscored their opponents four tries to three.
It took 25 minutes for the game’s first score as the hosts got off the mark through Ryan James, with the big second rower barging his way over from close range. Aidan Seizer converted for a 6-0 lead.
Their lead was doubled six minutes later when Wade Graham coughed up possession in an attempt to force his way through the line from a flat ball, and David Mead was on hand to show blistering pace and race 90 metres to score. Seizer knocked over the conversion from the touchline.
With four minutes of the first half remaining the Titans opted to take a shot at goal when they were awarded a penalty for the markers not being square, and Seizer made no mistake in making it 14-0.
The Sharks had the last word of the half though as Holmes showed good footwork to find a hole and force his way over out wide with two minutes left of the first 40, as Michael Gordon’s missed conversion meant the Titans went into the sheds with a 14-4 lead.
Gold Coast started the second half by adding another two points from the boot of Seizer, as they were awarded a penalty for a ball steal.
On the 50th minute the Sharks replied as Michael Ennis jumped from dummy half to find Luke Lewis with a flat ball, and the loose forward couldn’t be stopped from 10 metres out. Gordon added his first conversion to peg the Titans back to a six point lead.
Four minutes later that lead was extended to eight when Seizer kicked his third penalty goal, this time the penalty was awarded when try scorer Lewis failed to make it back 10 metres.
Nine minutes later Holmes grabbed a fortunate second when a towering bomb from Ben Barba was spilled by Donn, with the Sharks winger on hand to score a gift of a try. Gordon made it a two point ball game with his conversion off the post.
The Titans went into self-destruct mode as their kick-off went out on the full and then Josh Hoffman spilled a simple Jeff Robson kick into the path of Blake Ayshford, who was unfortunate not to score as he appeared to lose control of the ball when grounding it.
With only nine minutes of the game left the visitors hit the lead for the first time as Bird stabbed a kick along the ground, which brought along another set of six, however he only need one tackle as he ghosted over from a clever dummy half move. Gordon added the extras to give the Sharks a four point lead.
Their lead lasted all of three minutes as Cronulla threw away possession from the kick off with a wild offload and from the resulting set Kane Elgey sent Donn over in the corner with a brilliant cut out ball. Seizer dragged the conversion across the face of the posts as the scores were level at 22-all with four minutes remaining.
It stayed at 22 each as the hooter sounded and less than two minutes into golden point Holmes drilled a field goal straight over the crossbar to seal a dramatic 23-22 win for Cronulla Sharks.
NothingButRL Man of the Match: Valentine Holmes grabbed two tries before showing great composure to seal the victory with a golden point field goal, the 19-year-old winger has a bright future ahead.