A determined effort from the Gold Coast Titans on Sunday afternoon at Suncorp Stadium saw them overshadow a depleted Brisbane Broncos, 26-18.
An error riddled opening 10 minutes from both teams set the tone for what would be a rugged affair. Following a flurry of penalties, it was the Titans who managed to secure the first points of the afternoon, courtesy of a pinpoint grubber kick from fullback Alexander Brimson and impressive grounding by Brian Kelly (6-0). A showcase of individual brilliance in the 23rd minute saw Tyrone Roberts step his way past four Broncos defenders to extend the Titans’ lead to 12 points (12-0). The gap was abridged just two minutes later, when an agile Jake Turpin sliced through a yawning gap in the Titans’ defensive line and scored his first NRL try for the Broncos (12-6). On the brink of half time, the Titans exhibited their brilliance once again as centre Jesse Arthars delivered a sensational flick pass to an unmarked Anthony Don, who capitalised and sent the Titans into half time with an 18-6 lead.
Two early penalties against the Broncos for ill-discipline gifted the Titans valuable field position early in the second half. A penalty goal and successive try to Brian Kelly elevated the Titans’ lead to what appeared to be an unassailable 20 points (26-6). Two late tries to Kotoni Staggs and Anthony Milford were merely consolation tries for the Broncos. In what was a courageous win, the Titans’ much-improved performance ensured a 26-18 victory over their Queensland counterparts.
Considering the whirlwind the Titans experienced in the lead up to the game, their performance was nothing short of spectacular. Losing star halfback Ashley Taylor mid-week and enforcer Bryce Cartwright before kick-off, the Titans were not given much hope to drag themselves from the bottom of the Telstra Premiership ladder. However, their persistence and willingness in defence made it extremely difficult for the Broncos to mount any pressure. Following this win, the Titans now sit two points clear of the 16th placed Canterbury Bulldogs.
Broncos rue errors
The eight incomplete sets, 34 missed tackles and 11 handling errors made it very difficult for the Broncos to gain field position and challenge their opponents. Whilst they did exhibit some attacking prowess, their defensive lapses ultimately cemented their demise. The poor reads and gaps in their defensive line made it too easy for Garth Brennan’s men to slice through.
Overcoming their disappointing performance last week, the Titans forward pack was instrumental in restricting the Broncos’ go forward. Jarrod Wallace and Moeaki Fotuaika has a significant impact, running for 236 and 175 metres respectively. From a defensive perspective, Kevin Proctor was also tremendous, recording 46 tackles.
An ankle injury to halfback Thomas Dearden in the opening exchanges forced the Broncos to reshuffle their line-up – by injecting experienced campaigner Andrew McCullough into the match at hooker and moving Jake Turpin to halfback. While this combination, alongside five-eighth Anthony Milford and fullback Darius Boyd, did produce glimpses of brilliance, Dearden’s organisation and kicking game was sorely missed. For the sake of the Broncos’ long term aspirations, it is hoped that the young half is not sidelined for an extended period of time.
Brisbane Broncos 18
Tries: Jake Turpin, Kotoni Staggs, Anthony Milford
Goals: Jamayne Isaako 3
Gold Coast Titans 26
Tries: Brian Kelly 2, Tyrone Roberts, Anthony Don
Goals: Tyrone Roberts 5
Brisbane Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd, 20 Richard Kennar, 3 Kotoni Staggs, 4 Gehamat Shibasaki, 5 Jamayne Isaako, 6 Anthony Milford, 7 Thomas Dearden, 8 Matthew Lodge, 9 Jake Turpin, 10 Payne Haas, 11 Alex Glenn, 15 David Fifita, 13 Tevita Pangai Junior. Interchange: 14 Andrew McCullough, 15 Thomas Flegler, 18 Patrick Carrigan, 19 Jaydn Su’A.
Gold Coast Titans: 1 Alexander Brimson, 2 Anthony Don, 3 Jesse Arthars, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Dale Copley, 6 Tyrone Roberts, 20 Ryley Jacks, 8 Jarrod Wallace, 21 Nathan Peats, 10 Moeaki Fotuaika, 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 Keegan Hipgrave, 13 Jai Arrow. Interchange: 9 Mitch Rein, 14 Tyrone Peachey, 17 Jai Whitbread, 18 Jack Stockwell.