Brendan Wood reviews the Gold Coast Titans’ first win of the season, 28-23 over the Wests Tigers at Suncorp Stadium. Here’s how the game went:
|7th||Try – Adam Doueihi (Tigers)||Tigers 6-0|
|13th||Try – David Nofoaluma (Tigers)||Tigers 12-0|
|21st||Try – Kevin Proctor (Titans)||Tigers 12-6|
|27th||Try – Anthony Don (Titans)||12 All|
|42nd||Try – Joseph Leilua (Tigers)||Tigers 16-12|
|53rd||Try – David Nofoaluma (Tigers)||Tigers 22-12|
|59th||Try – Keegan Hipgrave (Titans)||Tigers 22-18|
|70th||Try – Brian Kelly (Titans)||22 All|
|77th||Field Goal – Benji Marshall (Tigers)||Tigers 23-22|
|79th||Try – Phillip Sami (Titans)||Titans 28-23|
The first few sets of the game were close as both teams tried to gain the ascendancy. The Tigers opened the scoring when Benji Marshall set up Adam Doueihi’s first try for the club. Just six minutes later, they had their second try when David Nofoaluma intercepted an Ash Taylor cut-out pass to race 50 metres and score under the posts.
The Titans bounced back quickly when Ash Taylor made up for his earlier error by nailing a 40/20. They got their first points when Kevin Proctor crashed over to cut the lead back to six points. Ash Taylor continued to lead the Titans comeback, putting up a cross-field bomb for Anthony Don to regather and score, evening the scores at 12 all. The next ten minutes returned to an arm wrestle, but neither side could take advantage. Ash Taylor had a field goal shot right on halftime, but missed, keeping the scores locked at 12 at the break.
The second half started with a bang when the Tigers scored a remarkable team try. After the ball went through several sets of hands, David Nofoaluma chipped a kick inside for Joseph Leilua to regather and score. Nofoaluma was in the action again ten minutes later, when he caught a cross field kick from Adam Doueihi to score his second try.
Much like the first half, the Titans bounced back quickly after the Tigers made an error coming out of their own end. Keegan Hipgrave reached out to score under the posts to cut the lead to just four. After a period of tough defence from both teams, Ash Taylor grubbered in behind the Tigers defence for Brian Kelly to score a crucial try. Taylor could not convert, which left the score at 22 all with less than ten minutes remaining.
The Tigers looked to have iced the game when Benji Marshall nailed a field goal with three minutes left, but the Titans had other ideas. They somehow managed to regather a short kick-off, and at the end of their set Brian Kelly kicked the ball into the in-goal. Phillip Sami beat everyone to the loose ball to score and give the Titans their first win of the season in dramatic fashion.
Ash Taylor’s performance was the highlight of the game. It was arguably one of the best games of his career. Each time the Titans fell behind, he took control and was instrumental in almost every try they scored. While down 12-0, he nailed a 40/20 which led to their first try. He then produced a pinpoint accurate kick for Anthony Don to score their second. In the second half, his direction again led the Titans back from the brink of defeat when they fell behind 22-12. His perfectly weighted grubber for Brian Kelly levelled the scores late in the game and ultimately got the Titans in a position to win, for the first time in almost an entire year.
Titans: 5. Phillip Sami, 2. Brian Kelly, 3. Dale Copley, 17. Young Tonumaipea, 20. Anthony Don, 6. Ash Taylor, 7. Jamal Fogarty, 8. Moeaki Fotuaika, 9. Erin Clark, 10. Sam Lisone, 11. Kevin Proctor (c), 16. Bryce Cartwright, 13. Jai Arrow. Interchange: 4. Tyrone Peachey, 12. Keegan Hipgrave, 14. Tanah Boyd, 15. Jaiman Jolliffe.
Tigers: 1. Adam Doueihi, 2. David Nofoaluma, 3. Joseph Leilua, 4. Moses Mbye, 5. Robert Jennings, 6. Benji Marshall, 7. Luke Brooks, 8. Josh Aloiai, 9. Harry Grant, 10. Thomas Mikaele, 11. Luke Garner, 12. Luciano Leilua, 13. Alex Twal. Interchange: 14. Oliver Clark, 15. Billy Walters, 16. Chris Lawrence, 17. Alex Sayfarth.