Matt Pritchard reports on the Gold Coast Titans’ 30-24 victory over the Penrith Panthers at CBUS Stadium on Friday night.
Clearing conditions greeted players at CBUS Stadium on Friday night with the Titans looking to get off the mark for 2019.
It was the Penrith Panthers who got off on the right foot when James Maloney scored under the posts after good hands from James Fisher-Harris after eight minutes. The Titans would level scores a further eight minutes in with Tyrone Roberts grounding the ball in-goal after Maloney made a mess picking up the pill. Four minutes later Anthony Don extended his record Titans try tally in jumping above Josh Mansour to put the Titans ahead. The see-sawing first half continued with a piece of brilliance from Viliame Kikau who stepped off his right foot before taking three players over the line in scoring. It was the Titans who would head into the break ahead after Tyrone Peachey found an unmarked Michael Gordon in his 250th game. The home side ahead 18-12 at the break.
Penrith needed to start strong in the second half and responded within the first three minutes when Fisher-Harris steamed onto a pass from Hame Sele. Four minutes later they hit the lead again thanks to Nathan Cleary’s offload for Mansour to score in the corner. Calm and collected, Cleary nailed the conversion to put the Panthers ahead 24-18. Shortly after the Titans drew level as Jarrod Wallace strolled over from close range. The game was decided through a penalty try to Bryce Cartwright, held back by Tyrell Fuimaono on his chase into the in-goal.
Despite a frantic last set by the Panthers, they couldn’t create an opportunity to score which provided the Titans with their first win of 2019.
Wallace may be in a little trouble for his shoulder charge on Dallin Watene-Zelezniak in the 55th minute of play.
FLASH CELEBRATES GAME 250 WITH VICTORY
It was documented through the week that Michael Gordon had lost on his debut, 50th, 100th, 150th and 200th game milestones. Last night he turned back the clock and produced an excellent performance in driving the Titans to victory. One try and five conversions, 159 run metres and two line breaks for the veteran facing the club where it all started back thirteen years ago.
COMMITMENT QUESTIONS FOR THE PANTHERS
Ivan Cleary has a few headaches after losing the game that should have been in the bag. At times the goal line defence was excellent, then at times it wasn’t. The gaping hole that allowed Jarrod Wallace to score next to the posts and level scores at 24-all was comical. Coach Cleary would be disappointed his team hasn’t learnt to diffuse the grubber kick which resulted in Tyrone Roberts scoring the Titans first. There were also moments of brilliance in Viliame Kikau’s solo try and the round the corner pass from Nathan Cleary to Josh Mansour. Penrith need to find the right balance and quick. They are on the road three of the next four weeks as they head to Magic Round in Brisbane in early May.
BRYCE CARTWRIGHT MATCH WINNER
After a couple of years from hell, Bryce Cartwright was involved in the match winning play which saw the Titans seal victory. Held back by Tyrell Fuimaono in chasing through a kick in-goal, the NRL Bunker decided that Cartwright would have scored if it wasn’t for the interference. Maybe this is a turning point for the talented Cartwright who languished in Queensland Cup for a lot of 2018, showing the skills that made him one of the hottest prospects in the game.
RELIEF FOR GARTH
Was Garth Brennan really under the pump or was it just the media stirring? The victory against Penrith Panthers relieved some of the pressure with a 0-4 record prior to the game. It was only in November that Brennan signed a two-year deal with an option for a third. They were probably unlucky not to have two wins having narrowly lost to South Sydney Rabbitohs a fortnight back with a huge penalty count going against them. The Titans are the only Queensland club to win in the past three weeks.
GOLD COAST TITANS 30
Tries: Tyrone Roberts, Anthony Don, Michael Gordon, Jarrod Wallace, Bryce Cartwright
Goals: Michael Gordon 5
PENRITH PANTHERS 24
Tries: James Maloney, Viliame Kikau, James Fisher-Harris, Josh Mansour
Goals: Nathan Cleary 4
GOLD COAST TITANS: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Anthony Don 3. Tyrone Peachey 4. Brian Kelly 5. Dale Copley 6. Tyrone Roberts 7. Ash Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Ryan James 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. Jai Arrow 14. Alexander Brimson 15. Max King 17. Keegan Hipgrave 20. Jai Whitbread
PENRITH PANTHERS: 1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dean Whare 4. Waqa Blake 5. Dylan Edwards 6. James Maloney 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Sione Katoa 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Isaah Yeo 13. James Fisher-Harris 14. Wayde Egan 15. Tyrell Fuimaono 16. Moses Leota 17. Hame Sele 20. Jarome Luai