The Gold Coast Titans put in a strong second half to beat Manly 42-34 at Lottoland on Friday night.
An Ash Taylor 40/20 changed the Sea Eagles’ early momentum. From the ensuing set they scored through Anthony Don. Their lead didn’t last long, when both Trbojevic brothers scored a combined three tries in five minutes. The first came from Tom, when he crashed over from close range off a Fainu pass. The second from Jake, backing up on the inside when Tom streaked down the left side. Tom scored again, swerving through some ordinary Gold Coast defence from the attacking scrum. Manly concentrated their attack down the left side and found their fourth try through Joel Thompson, running a hard line back through the ruck. The Titans created a nice try through AJ Brimson, right on halftime. The try gave the Titans hope, trailing 22-10.
After a spray from their coach, the Titans responded with three quick tries. The first one came through Taylor, after Kane Elgey split the Sea Eagles defence and released a pass over his shoulder. The second was scored by Phillip Sami out wide after a nice cut out pass from Elgey in the lead up. A Manly try was disallowed between these two for an ineligible player getting involved in the tryscoring movement. The Titans hit the lead through Mitch Rein, who sliced the defence up with a dart from dummy half close to the line. The Titans had turned a 16-point deficit into a 28-22 lead. That lead was extended to 12 when Jack Stockwell crashed over from close range, then Brimson put in a grubber for himself to score. It was made even harder for the Sea Eagles defence when – for a two-minute period – they had Addin Fonua-Blake and Dylan Walker in the sin bin. Despite playing with a two-man advantage the Titans decided to shoot for goal and extend their lead to 20. Jake and Tom Trbojevic crossed for their second and third but it was all too late for Manly.
Since debuting as a 25-year old, Don has gone on to score 66 tries for the Titans in six years of football. Tonight he scored his 67th, equalling the Titans’ club record, joining David Mead.
The Sea Eagles and Titans both concede over 24 points a match on average, an indication of the kind of seasons they’re been having. Both sides played some impressive attacking football, made easy by the poor defence. The Titans were lucky to have only conceded six tries with the Sea Eagles having a few disallowed.
GAME OF TWO HALVES
Manly were electrifying in the first half. They combined nicely and looked likely to score off every play. They went into the sheds with four tries and a few disallowed efforts. It was all turned on its head in the second half. After a Garth Brennan spray, the Titans came out in the second half, playing some scintillating football of their own.
Rein’s introduction breathed life into the Gold Coast attack. His running game helped keep the Titans attack running straight and freed up room for Taylor and Elgey to play off. His try ten minutes into the second half helped them regain the lead.
Gold Coast Titans 42
Tries: AJ Brimson 2, Anthony Don, Ashley Taylor, Phillip Sami, Mitch Rein, Jack Stockwell
Goals: Ashley Taylor 7/8
Manly Sea Eagles 34
Tries: Tom Trbojevic 3, Jake Trbojevic 2, Joel Thompson
Goals: Daly Cherry-Evans 5/6
Manly Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic, 2. Jorge Taufua, 3. Moses Suli, 4. Brian Kelly, 5. Brad Parker, 6. Dylan Walker, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. Addin Fonua-Blake, 9. Manase Fainu, 10. Martin Taupau, 11. Joel Thompson, 12. Shaun Lane, 13. Jake Trbojevic.
Interchange: 14. Trent Hodkinson, 15. Kelepi Tanginoa, 16. Frank Winterstein, 17. Lloyd Perrett.
Gold Coast Titans: 1. AJ Brimson, 2. Anthony Don, 3. Konrad Hurrell, 4. Brenko Lee, 5. Phillip Sami, 6. Kane Elgey, 7. Ashley Taylor, 8. Jarrod Wallace, 9. Nathan Peats, 10. Ryan James, 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. Keegan Hipgrave, 13. Jai Arrow.
Interchange: 14. Mitch Rein, 15. Moeaki Fotuaika, 16. Jack Stockwell, 21. Bryce Cartwright.