2023 NRL Round 22: Titans 22, Cowboys 13

The Titans played host to the form team in the competition, the Cowboys, in a fiery QLD derby.

Result

Titans 22
Tries: AJ Brimson 7th; Phillip Sami 22nd; Jayden Campbell 40th; Alofiana Khan-Pereira 45th
Goals: Tanah Boyd 9th, 42nd, 47th.

Cowboys 13
Tries: Semi Valemei 10th; Coen Hess 14th;
Goals: Valentine Holmes 12th, 15th; Townsend (FG) 39th

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Report

The Titans put on an impressive second-half effort as they stunned the visiting Cowboys 22-13. They snapped their opponents’ six-game winning streak while arresting their own four-game slide in a thrilling Sunday afternoon clash.

The Gold Coast side ran in two tries in the second half but more impressively for the home side, they held the Cowboys to nil in arguably their most impressive defensive stretch of the year.

The Titans would strike first when a shift from their own end saw speedster Alofiana Khan-Pereira find open space and kick over the top of Scott Drinkwater in defense with AJ Brimson winning the race to the ball to open the scoring for the afternoon, followed by Tanah Boyd adding the two from in front.

The Cowboys would be next to show their offensive firepower when Drinkwater summed up the numbers and fired a beautiful cut-out pass to winger Semi Valemei, who finished in the corner and locked the scores up at six a piece when Valentine Holmes converted the extras from the sideline.

A penalty from the kick-off saw the Cowboys back on the attack immediately, and they made the most of it with towering front-rower Coen Hess climbing up to take a cross-field kick and score, pushing the visitors out to a 12-6 lead.

The Cowboys would be down to 12 men when Holmes was binned for the second time in as many weeks, and the Titans would take advantage of the numbers with Phillip Sami scoring untouched in the corner. However, Boyd was unable to convert, leaving his side trailing 12-10. The Cowboys would make it through the rest of Holmes’ time in the bin unscathed.

Both teams would create chances in the dying stages of the first half, but Chad Townsend would extend the Cowboys’ lead heading into the break when he iced a field goal to push the scores out to 13-10.

The Titans would come out of the sheds firing and would get the scoreboard moving within 60 seconds of the restart when a shift to the left left Khan-Pereira flying down the touch line before finding Jayden Campbell in support. Boyd would then kick the extras to push his side out to an unusual 16-13 lead.

This rejuvenated effort from the Titans continued when David Fifita found the ball against a scattered defensive line and held the attention of Valemei before throwing the pass to Khan-Pereira for the winger to take the Titans’ record for most tries in a season with 18.

Both sides would then create plenty of chances, but it was the defensive efforts that would shine as neither side was able to crack their opposition. The Titans would stun the top four hopefuls to walk away with a 22-13 victory.

Brimson sustained a rib injury but managed to play out the second half while Holmes may be in trouble with the judiciary following his high contact on Jayden Campbell.

The Titans look to keep their mathematical chance of playing finals footy alive when they host the New Zealand Warriors while the Cowboys move from one Queensland derby to the next when they host the Brisbane Broncos.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTS

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3 – David Fifita (Titans)
2 – Phillip Sami (Titans)
1 – Alofiana Khan-Pereira (Titans)

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