The Gold Coast Titans claimed one of the greatest victories in the clubs short history on Saturday night when they produced a late miracle to upset the table-topping Storm in a 38-36 thriller.
They’ve been building a reputation over the past 2 seasons as the scrappy, tough side that puts up a fight all game, and the Titans victory against the Storm was the ultimate example of the spirit and determination that the Gold Coast are building their finals campaign on. With the best team in the competition leading them by 8 points with just 6 minutes left,the Titans were as good as defeated. The most injury prone side in the competition had once again been reduced to a 1 man bench, with Jarryd Hayne, Dan Sarginson and Ryan Simpkins all leaving the field. But instead of accepting their fate, the tenacious Titans kept fighting, and threw everything they had at the Melbourne defence. When Ash Taylor placed a grubber perfectly into the in-goal for Tyrone Roberts to leap on in the 74th minute, the Titans suddenly had a glimmer of hope. They then stole victory in spectacular fashion, with crowd favourite Konrad Hurrell the man to cross for the game winning try. With just 2 minutes left on the clock, Kane Elgey ran to his left before changing direction, turning and placing a high kick perfectly for the right corner. The Titans hopes were floating in the air, until Anthony Don brilliantly outleaped Josh Addo-Carr, batting the ball backwards for Konrad Hurrell who did a terrific job of swooping the ball up before it hit the ground and then powering through a tackle attempt to slam the ball over the tryline and secure a historic Titans win.
The Big 3 Deliver A Rugby League Masterclass
2017 felt more like 2012 for a 15 minute period on Saturday night as Rugby League’s undisputed greatest combination turned back the clock to produce some of the finest Rugby League you will see. It looked like the Titans were set for a bloodbath as the Storm’s big 3 of Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater combined brilliantly in the 19th, 22nd and 27th minutes to cross for tries. The way the 3 genius footballers picked apart the Titans defence was brilliant for any fan of Rugby League to watch, and was reminiscent of the old days when the champion trio were in their prime. Slater is already showing his greatness in his return from a 2 year injury hiatus, and Melbourne, Queensland and Australian fans will be looking forward to seeing plenty more brilliance from the Storm’s star trio.
The Titans are statistically the best attacking side in the NRL at the moment, and they showed off their attacking potency by putting a massive 38 points on Melbourne’s renowned strong defence. The Gold Coast are leading the NRL in points scored, tries scored and have Ash Taylor heading the league in assists, as they continue to brilliantly make use of the multitude of weapons they have on their side. Taylor notched another try assist to his name against the Storm, while Konrad Hurrell scored a double for the second consecutive game, and even winger Anthony Don showed that he can do more than just score, as he laid on 2 crucial try assists to go along with his own four pointer. The most scary thing for opponents is that they were able to do all this against the competition leaders with a minimal amount of input from Jarryd Hayne.
Storm Missing their Big Men
The absence of Melbourne trio Jesse Bromwich, Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Christian Welch could be felt up front as the Storm’s interchange forwards struggled to make a mark on the game. Mark Nicholls and Tui Kamikamica were brought into the side as replacements, alongside Tohu Harris, who was returning from injury for his first match of the season. Nicholls struggled to bring impact to the side as he ran for just 14 metres, while Kamikamica only ran the ball once in his 10 minute stint on the field. Joe Stimson also ran for a measly 34 metres, as the Storm interchange bench simply failed to bring the same impact as the Titans bench did, with Morgan Boyle and Leivaha Pulu both turning in 120+ metres for the Gold Coast.
Gold Coast Titans:36
Tries: James, Pulu, Mcqueen, Roberts, Hurrell 2
Goals: Elgey 5/7
Tries: Slater, Cronk, Chambers, Stimson, Blair
Goals: Smith 6/6
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