In front of a strong crowd in Brisbane, the visiting Gold Coast Titans have defeated the Brisbane Broncos 26-14 at Suncorp Stadium on Easter Sunday. The Titans were slick in attack and strong in defence, while the Broncos were the complete opposite in only the Titan’s second win at the ground in club history. Both sides sit on two wins and two losses on the ladder, but point differential sees the Broncos remain ahead only slightly.
The game started with the Broncos making mistakes and gifting possession to the Titans. A Korbin Sims knock-on within 20 seconds led to a Philip Sami try in the left corner. Off the ensuing kick-off, Jamayne Isaako kicked the ball dead and later Brisbane gave away another penalty to see Gold Coast march up well inside Brisbane’s half. Dale Copley crossed, giving the visitors a 10-0 lead after four minutes. That set the tone for the game, as the Broncos looked flat for the remainder. The Titans did struggled to convert their chances on the right side in the first half, with three knock-ons in attacking sets, which helped Brisbane remain within eight at the break.
The second half was much of the same for both sides, with the Broncos struggling to match the Titans intensity. In the 44th minute broken plays aw Philip Sami put in a desperation cross field kick to his opposing wing, and Anthony Don impressively grabbed the ball and scored to extend the Titans lead. Mistakes were flowing for Brisbane and Wayne Bennett’s side were struggling to get the basics right. The Broncos had two chances to score and bring themselves within six, but mistakes continued to haunt them. Tries to Sami and Nikorima were the last of the match, as the Titans reduced the pace of the game and coasted to a 26-14 victory. The performance was arguably one of Brisbane’s worst in a long time, while the Titans showed off their defensive strength and intensity.
Titans turn it around with a tremendous performance
With an Easter Sunday matchup against a struggling side in front of a huge crowd at home, the Broncos had all the ingredients to get an easy victory. The Titans had other ideas with though what was their best performance of the year, and one of their best in a long time. From the kick-off Jai arrow and Ryan James laid a strong tackle on Matt Lodge, and that’s seemed to be the narrative for some time as the Titans muscled up in defence to force mistakes. When it mattered, their halves and outside backs were able to convert their chances and create a comfortable lead.
Mistakes continue to haunt the Broncos
In all their games so far this season, the Broncos have struggled to remain disciplined in the opening 10 minutes. This game was no different as they committed a knock on and gave away a penalty to hand the Titans their first scoring chance. The early errors once again put Brisbane behind by more than a converted try, and without any conviction in their attack they seemes unlikely to overturn the momentum. Brisbane also bombed two great attacking opportunities close to their line with knock-ons, which could have brought them to within a converted try.
Ryan James the force behind the Titans
The Titans had a bunch of standout players in their win over the Broncos, but none more influential than that of Ryan James. Off the kick-off with a great tackle of Matt Lodge, James set the tone for the rest of the game with his tough defence and great contributions on attack. His first half numbers sat at 75 running metres off nine carries, and managed to set up a try with a gorgeous grubber kick recovered by Phillip Sami.
Brisbane’s outside backs a no show
Every aspect of the Brisbane side was average, but the outside backs of Isaako, Roberts, Bird and Pearson were particularly disappointing. Jack Bird, the star signing for 2018, was invisible for most of the game with only one carry and a knock-on in the first half, while Pearson bombed a golden scoring opportunity in the left corner. All four men had 266 running metres between them, an average of 66.5 each.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Wayne Bennet was his usual self after the match – unemotional, and stated that his side needed to return to basics in order to get better results. Captain Darius Boyd was also disappointed in his side’s weak performance, saying “we just didn’t turn up, that’s the most disappointing thing”.
Titans Coach Garth Brennan was very pleased of what his side produced, and said that it was a “different feeling than it was last Sunday”, but added there is still work to be done. “We knew if we defended well and work hard for each other we’d work our way into the game,” said Titans captain Ryan James.
Tries: Sami (3) (1m, 33m, 55m), Copley (4m), Don (44m)
Goals: Gordon 3/5
Field Goals: N/A
Tries: McCullough (24m), Nikorima (63m)
Goals: Isaako 3/3
Field Goals: N/A
Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd, 2 Jonus Pearson, 3 James Roberts, 4 Jack Bird, 5 Jamayne Isaako, 6 Anthony Milford, 7 Kodi Nikorima, 8 Matthew Lodge, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Korbin Sims, 11 Alex Glenn, 12 Matt Gillett, 13 Josh McGuire Interchange: 14 Sam Thaiday, 15 Joe Ofahengaue, 16 Tom Opacic, 17 Jaydn Su’A
Titans: 1 Michael Gordon, 2 Anthony Don, 3 Dale Copley, 4 Konrad Hurrell, 5 Phillip Sami, 6 Kane Elgey, 7 Ashley Taylor, 8 Jarrod Wallace, 9 Nathan Peats, 10 Ryan James, 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 Will Matthews, 13 Jai Arrow Interchange: 14 Mitch Rein, 15 Max King, 16 Bryce Cartwright, 18 Morgan Boyle