Gold Coast Titans 18
Tries: Kevin Gordon, Mark Minichiello, Brad Takarangi
Goals: Daniel Mortimer 1/1, Greg Bird 2/2
St George Illawarra Dragons 19
Tries: Leeson Ah Mau, Josh Dugan, Trent Merrin
Goals: Gareth Widdop 3/3
Field Goal: Gareth Widdop
The St George Illawarra Dragons kept their slim finals hopes alive with a gripping 19-18 victory over the Gold Coast Titans at CBus Super Stadium on Sunday.
With both sides well below their best, the game was locked up at 12-all at half time, before both sides scored second half tries. A 72nd minute field goal to Dragons five eighth Gareth Widdop proved the difference.
In the 4th minute, a sublime Benji Marshal short ball put Dragons second rower Leeson Ah Mau over for the opening try. In typical Marshall fashion, what comes up, must come down and his long pass was gratefully accepted by Titans winger Kevin Gordon who raced 85 metres to score under the posts and lock the game up at 6-all after 15 minutes.
The Titans hit the lead after 27 minutes when new recruit Daniel Mortimer’s pass saw Mark Minichiello barge over. Greg Bird added the extras to give his side a six point lead.
The Dragons hit back 5 minutes later when a Marshall inside pass found Josh Dugan 10 metres out from the line. The NSW Origin centre, dodged, weaved, and stepped his way past would be defenders to slam the ball down for a great individual try. Widdop added the extras to tie it up at 12-all.
The first 20 minutes of the second half would have been frustrating to watch for both sets of fans, but some fancy footwork by Dragons lock Trent Merrin saw him dive over for the Dragons’ third try, converted by Widdop for an 18-12 lead.
Widdop snapped a field goal with seven minutes to play, and this proved decisive as the Titans scored through Brad Takarangi, converted by Bird in the 79th minute which would have sent the game into extra time.
The match wasn’t one for the highlights reel, but both teams were willing and fought hard as they sought to keep their seasons alive. Marshall had another mixed afternoon, making several errors, but, importantly, he balanced these out, setting up Ah Mau’s try with some deft hands, and his kicking in the second half kept the Titans on the back foot.