Brendan Wood reviews the Gold Coast Titans 8-6 last minute win over the Wests Tigers in a low scoring contest that failed to impress.
Gold Coast Titans 8
Tries: AJ Brimson (79)
Goals: Toby Sexton (37, 80)
Wests Tigers 6
Goals: Luke Brooks (40, 69, 76)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
The home side suffered some late outs before the game with Beau Fermor and Isaac Liu ruled out due to COVID. With the Titans weakened, the Tigers began the game in a good tempo. They found some early metres through the ruck but couldn’t find the execution to convert that into points.
As the Titans began to find their groove, Jacob Liddle forced an error when he put his body on the line to stop a charging Mo Fotuaika. A nasty head clash between the two saw Liddle leave the field for a HIA.
Despite forcing the error, the ill-discipline of the Tigers was their own worst enemy. They gave away a penalty to piggy-back the Titans into good field position. Another penalty with the Titans on the attack, and David Fifita almost made them pay. He took a quick tap and barged his way into the in-goal, but couldn’t get the ball down.
In the following set, the Titans bombed an opportunity when Corey Thompson lost control of the ball as he was diving for the line. Again, the Tigers turned this into an opportunity of their own. Oliver Gildart pushed his way through the line but couldn’t maintain possession as he tried to get a ball away to Ken Maumalo.
With the Tigers continuing to give away penalties, referee Grant Atkins sent Tyrone Peachey to the sin-bin for repeated infringements. The two sides exchanged sets through the middle with neither making enough impact to trouble the scorers. Despite only having 12 men on the field, it was the Tigers who had the better of possession and had the Titans under some pressure with repeated opportunities attacking the line.
As was the story earlier in the game, they had trouble finding fluidity and the Titans defence turned them away time after time. With three minutes remaining before halftime, the home side finally found first points when they were awarded a penalty right in front. They opted to take the two points and grab the lead.
Inside the final minute of the half, the Tigers returned the favour. They caught the Titans offside from a scrum and opted for the penalty goal to level the scores at 2-2, concluding a sloppy half of footy from both sides.
HALF-TIME: Gold Coast Titans 2 Wests Tigers 2Embed from Getty Images
The execution from both sides did not improve starting off the second half. They exchanged sets of six but much like the first half, the errors were rampant.
After 15 minutes of back and forth, the Titans injected Will Smith into the game and he made an immediate impact. He made a break and was eventually cut down in a tackle by Daine Laurie. Off the next play the Tigers were penalised for being offside, but the Titans again couldn’t capitalise. They lost a captain’s challenge when Tino Fa’asuamaleaui lost control when playing the ball close to the line.
Let off the hook, the Tigers found some space down the left edge to get some easy metres. They forced a repeat set when Jock Madden put the ball into the in-goal before it swept over the dead ball line by Greg Marzhew. Even with repeat sets, there was no way through for the Tigers as they failed to complete their second set in attack.
As the game edged closer to the last 10 minutes, Jamayne Isaako was penalised for an obstruction on a kick return. The Tigers opted for another shot at goal. Luke Brooks converted from 35 out to grab a two point lead for the visitors.
Inside the final five minutes, all the possession was with the Tigers as they tried to grind out their first win. The Titans began to fatigue under the pressure late in the game, as they gave away another penalty right in front. Luke Brooks converted another penalty goal, extending the lead to four points.
Desperate, the Titans tried a short kick-off but the Tigers regained possession. With a four point lead the Tigers went deep into the Titans half looking to land the finishing blow. Instead they gave away a penalty to gift the Titans an easy way out with time winding down.
In a last ditch effort, Toby Sexton chipped a kick towards the posts hoping for a miracle. He got exactly what he wanted when the ball ricocheted off the post and was loose in the in-goal. Miraculously, AJ Brimson was the first player to ground the ball, getting the Titans out of jail at the death and destroying the hopes of a first win for the Tigers.
FULL-TIME: Gold Coast Titans 8 Wests Tigers 6
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – AJ Brimson (Gold Coast Titans), 2 pts – Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (Gold Coast Titans), 1 pt – Toby Sexton (Gold Coast Titans)
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