The first match on Super Saturday starts on the Gold Coast where the desperate Titans face another desperate side in the Canterbury Bulldogs.
The Gold Coast Titans got off to a fantastic start thanks to Albert Kelly. After going set-for-set to begin with, left centre Kelly came up with a big tackle on Dylan Napa that knocked the ball loose. The mistake put the Titans in fantastic territory and after an elusive run from Jai Arrow found Albert Kelly on the outside, he was able to draw in the winger and set Dale Copley up for the first try of the afternoon. The penalty from the ensuing set allowed them to add a further two points to their fast start. The next time the Bulldogs touched the ball another cracking tackle from Albert Kelly forced a mistake and once again, the Titans crashed over in the corner through Copley. A scrum penalty against the Bulldogs gave the Titans another two points to give them an 16-0 lead after 20 minutes. Once the Bulldogs began completing their sets they found room in the Titans defence and were able to add two quick fire tries through Montoya and Okunbor to get back within 4 at the half time break.
Both teams came out in the second half willing to through the ball around but neither side were able to turn their attacking flair into points. The Titans attempted to extend their lead to 6 but Ashley Taylor’s penalty goal attempt failed. Though they were able to work their way back into an attacking position and gain a repeat set. But their attack returned quickly into defence, when a spilt ball was picked up by Okunbor with visions of running 80. A penalty came from a high tackle and suddenly the Bulldogs were camped down in their attacking zone and they were able to take the lead with Jayden Okunbor finishing what he started. The Titans had a few chances to take the lead back but failed and after a Kelly mistake, Jack Cogger took on the line with players in motion and crashed over the line to further emphasise their comeback. The Titans pressed late and just when they looked likely- in a far cry from the beginning of the match- Albert Kelly lost the ball with an unmarked winger on his outside. The Bulldogs finishing the comeback with a 22-16 result over the Titans.
D IS FOR DISCIPLINE
The Bulldogs conceded far too many penalties and errors to begin a game of first grade football. It contributed to the Titans fast start in this game and while it slowly get better throughout the match, they were still prone to coming up with some crucial errors at some critical moments. They know that in order to give themselves the best chance in their matches this year that I need to be completing at a much higher rate.
D IS FOR DEFENCE
The Titans have been haunted in recent weeks with their inability to hold onto strong leads. They were ahead 16-0 early in this one off the back of a lopsided possession count but as it began to even out the Bulldogs found a few holes in their defensive line. The pressure applied by their defence failed to dent the Bulldogs spirit and will continue to plague the Titans this season regardless of the amount of points they can score. There was a massive difference in the defensive enthusiasm and energy in this match compared to the Broncos and Roosters.
DOGGIES DO IT TOUGH
The Bulldogs will be thrilled with earning their third win of the season and distancing themselves from the bottom of the ladder. Their victory was far from assured especially after 20 minutes when they fell behind early. But the young Dogs side continued to play attacking football and despite some simple errors, they kept in the game and came away with the two competition points.
Both sides were desperate for the victory in order to avoid a 2-8 start to the season and it gave us a match that failed to capture the imagination, despite the tight score. And at the end of the match, when either side needed one of their impact players to stand up, it was the least experienced half in Cogger that stood tall. His try came off the back of some clunky attack from the Titans, who weren’t slick as they were at the beginning of the match.
Gold Coast Titans 16
Tries: Dale Copley 2
Goals: Ashley Taylor 4/5
Canterbury Bulldogs 22
Tries: Jayden Okunbor 2, Marcelo Montoya, Jack Cogger
Goals: Nick Meaney 3/4
Gold Coast Titans: 1. Alexander Brimson 2. Anthony Don 14. Jesse Arthars 4. Brian Kelly 5. Dale Copley 6. Tyrone Roberts 7. Ash Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 16. Jack Stockwell 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. Jai Arrow INTERCHANGE: 3. Tyrone Peachey 10. Moeaki Fotuaika 17. Max King 18. Jai Whitbread
Canterbury Bulldogs: 1. Nick Meaney 2. Jayden Okunbor 3. Marcelo Montoya 4. Will Hopoate 5. Reimis Smith 6. Kieran Foran 7. Jack Cogger 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Corey Harawira-Naera 16. Chris Smith INTERCHANGE: 13. Danny Fualalo 14. Rhyse Martin 15. Ofahiki Ogden 17. Sauaso Sue