Matt Pritchard reviews the Titans’ first win over North Queensland since 2014. Here’s how the game went.
|4th||Try Anthony Don (Gold Coast Titans)||Titans 4-0|
|21st||Try Kevin Proctor (Gold Coast Titans)||Titans 8-0|
|23rd||Try AJ Brimson (Gold Coast Titans)||Titans 12-0|
|24th||Goal Jamal Fogarty (Gold Coast Titans)||Titans 14-0|
|34th||Try AJ Brimson (Gold Coast Titans)||Titans 18-0|
|36th||Goal Jamal Fogarty (Gold Coast Titans)||Titans 20-0|
|42nd||Try Brian Kelly (Gold Coast Titans)||Titans 24-0|
|46th||Try Kyle Feldt (North Queensland Cowboys)||Titans 24-4|
|50th||Try Justin O’Neill (North Queensland Cowboys)||Titans 24-8|
|51st||Goal Kyle Feldt (North Queensland Cowboys)||Titans 24-10|
|68th||Try Phillip Sami (Gold Coast Titans)||Titans 28-10|
|69th||Goal Jamal Fogarty (Gold Coast Titans)||Titans 30-10|
The 25th Queensland derby between the Titans and Cowboys would see the winner become the highest-placed Queensland side in the NRL after 13 rounds. The Gold Coast were trying to end a 10-game losing streak against their northern rivals.
A turnover near halfway from Mitch Dunn saw the Titans shift the ball out to the right from the scrum. They swung the ball back to the left, before stretching the Cowboys’ defence by switching back to the right, where Anthony Don scored in the corner. Ashley Taylor’s conversion was short and wide.
Returning from injury, Michael Morgan was in the game early with an attacking kick across field to Coen Hess, which saw the Cowboys miss an opportunity to post points after 10 minutes.
The Cowboys’ completion rate was poor (50%) in the first 20 minutes. Josh McGuire’s turnover inside his own half gave the Titans cheap field position. In the ensuing set, Kevin Proctor barged over one pass of the ruck to extend his side’s lead to eight points. Jamal Fogarty missed the conversion to the left of the posts.
The upbeat Titans scored straight from the restart thanks to Brian Kelly’s break downfield, before finding AJ Brimson back on the inside to score. Fogarty converted to give the home side a 14-point lead.
In a rare attacking opportunity for the Cowboys in the first half, Justin O’Neill went close to scoring on the half-hour mark but dropped the ball over the line.
Brimson had a brace five minutes before half-time, thanks to a lovely set play which involved Taylor passing to Proctor, who found the fullback back on the inside to score. Fogarty converted to make the score 20-0.
The Titans were denied a try two minutes later with Proctor obstructing the defence, allowing Taylor to find an easy path to the line.
With 63% possession and an 83% completion rate, the Gold Coast Titans deserved to be ahead by 20 points at the break.
The Titans extended their lead three minutes into the second half, with Proctor chasing a kick through from Fogarty that looked way too long, tapping the ball back into the field of play, where Kelly forced the ball down. Fogarty’s conversion was no good.
Finally, the Cowboys got on the scoreboard after Phillip Sami made a meal of Morgan’s kick into the in-goal, which gifted Kyle Feldt his eleventh try of the season. Feldt failed to convert his own try.
Soon after the visitors had their second, with O’Neill tip-toeing along the sideline to score in the corner. Feldt’s conversion from the eastern touchline was good and the Titans’ lead was reduced to 14.
With 15 minutes remaining, Ben Hampton lost possession inside his own 20. After a repeat set, the Titans sealed the game, with Taylor’s long pass finding Sami out wide to score. Fogarty converted from the sideline as the Titans reached 30 points.
North Queensland’s afternoon was summed up by Jordan McLean’s knock on from a 60-metre goal-line dropout by the Titans in the final stages of the contest.
Gold Coast’s fourth win saw them swap spots with the Cowboys into 13th place. North Queensland recorded their sixth-straight loss and face a horror run home, facing five top eight sides in the last seven games.
There’s no doubt that AJ Brimson is a vital cog to the Titans side.
Last week Brimson played his first game of the season against the Roosters and his contribution almost saw the Titans pull off a massive upset at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The fullback scored two tries, made 207 metres, one line break assist, and a try assist for the winners.
A rare blemish came with half-an-hour to go where he dropped a towering kick which led to the Cowboys’ second try to Justin O’Neill.
If Brimson can stay free of injury for the rest of 2020, the Titans could provide nuisance value to top eight prospects Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (Round 14), the Canberra Raiders (Round 15), the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (Round 19), and the Newcastle Knights (Round 20).
Gold Coast Titans: 1. Alexander Brimson 2. Anthony Don 3. Brian Kelly 4. Dale Copley 5. Phillip Sami 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Nathan Peats 10. Jaimin Jolliffe 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Keegan Hipgrave 13. Jai Arrow. Interchange: 14. Tanah Boyd 15. Jarrod Wallace 16. Tyrone Peachey 17. Sam Lisone.
North Queensland Cowboys: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Tom Opacic 4. Connelly Lemuelu 5. Justin O’Neill 6. Ben Hampton 7. Michael Morgan 8. Josh McGuire 9. Reece Robson 10. Jordan McLean 11. Mitchell Dunn 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: 14. Jake Granville 15. Tom Gilbert 16. Emry Pere 17. Francis Molo.