The Warriors celebrated Adam Blair’s 300th game with a 24-20 victory, after surviving a last-minute comeback attempt from the wounded Titans
After last weeks win over the Brisbane Bronco’s, the crowd at Cbus Super Stadium were confident that the Titans would notch up another win against the struggling side from across the Tasman, but they left with their hearts broken as the Warriors held on for a much-needed win to keep their slim playoffs alive.
It was the Warriors who were first out of the gate when former Titan Karl Lawton snuck out of dummy half to score taking advantage of some slow markers after a strong run from Agnatius Paasi, Kodi Nikorima’s conversion made the score 6-0. A few minutes later a Titans forward pass gifted the Warriors excellent field position which they took advantage of straight away when Roger Tuivasa-Sheck sliced through the defence on the first tackle and put Ken Maumalo over in the corner, Nikorima missed the conversion giving the Warriors a 10-0 lead.
This appeared to wake the Titans from their slumber as they surged up the field thanks in part to some poor discipline from the New Zealand side. The Warriors were rattled, and their strong goal-line defence was exposed after Ryley Jacks strolled over untouched after some poor positioning left a massive hole between Blake Green and Tohu Harris, Tyrone Roberts conversion took the score to 10-6. The Titans showed no signs of slowing down as the Warriors struggled to contain them once again, with Brian Kelly crossing over with the Titans second try of the match, Roberts conversion gave the Titans a 12-10 lead. The Warriors were fortunate when Lachlan Burr’s mistimed offload lead to an accidental offside, Issac Luke kicked the penalty to bring the scores level 12-12 as they went into the break.
The second half started messy with neither side able to get the upper hand due to a combination of stubborn defence and poor execution. The Titans forced repeat sets but failed to convert them into points, and it wasn’t until the 65th minute that the points drought ended after Roberts kicked a penalty given due to an illegal strip to give the Titans back the lead 14-12. The lead wasn’t for long as the Warriors quickly responded when Blake Green evaded the rushing defenders on the last tackle, scrambling towards the line putting Tuivasa-Sheck over with a fine display of the off the cuff football this side is known for, Luke’s conversion put the Warriors ahead once again 18-14. The Warrioweren’t finished as the piled the pressure on the Titans, and a quick tap on pass from Nikorima gave the Warriors some space to send Maumalo over for his second try of the match, Luke’s conversion stretched the lead out to 24-10.
The game appeared all but over until a Warriors knock on from the short kickoff gave the Titans the opportunity they needed as Bryce Cartwright showed some excellent skills as the Titans quickly shuffled the ball out for Alexander Brimstone to score on the edge, Roberts conversion reduced the Warriors lead down to 24-20.
Refusing to give up the Titans got themselves in a great position when they stripped the ball from Leeson Ah Mau. Their chances increased further when Adam Blair was sin-binned for a late hit on Roberts in the final minute, but ultimately they were unable to break through the Warriors determined defensive line and the Warriors pounced on the last ditch grubber as the final whistle blew.
Injuries hurt Titans
To play the entire second half with only 15 players is a big ask but when those players are as crucial as Jai Arrow and Tyrone Peachey you are staring down the barrel to defeat. The Titans did well to fill in the holes these two left but did not have the numbers needed to stay fresh for the entire 80 minutes. Titans fans will be hoping these injuries are minor and that both players will be available for selection in the next round.
Much needed win
2019 has been a hard year to date for the Warriors and with the poor performances mounting they desperately needed the win. The competition is tight, and this victory keeps the Warriors in the hunt for a top-eight spot, but they will need to string some wins together if playoffs are to become a reality.
Titans never say die.
The Titans fans will be disappointed with the loss but should take pride in the never say die attitude their team displayed. Ten points behind with only five minutes left on the clock and a limited bench, the Titans could have dropped their heads and start thinking about the next round. But they didn’t, they hung in there and almost got the win, if the Titans had a few more minutes up their sleeve they may very well have walked away with the victory.
Is it too little too late
The win was needed for the New Zealand sides top eight aspirations, but their performance didn’t scream playoff material. They showed glimpses of how dangerous their attack can be, but still seem to lose composure when the oppositions defensive line rushes them. The spine slowly appears to be learning to play together, and the Warriors fans will be hoping that they finally click sooner rather than later.
Gold Coast Titans: 20
Tries: Ryley Jacks, Brian Kelly, Alexander Brimson
Goals: Tyrone Roberts 4/4
New Zealand Warriors: 24
Tries: Ken Maumalo (2), Karl Lawton, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Goals: Kodi Nikorima 1/2, Issac Luke 3/3
Titans: 1. Alexander Brimson, 2. Anthony Don, 3. Jesse Arthars, 4. Brian Kelly, 5. Dale Copley, 6. Tyrone Roberts, 7. Ryley Jacks, 8. Jarrod Wallace, 8. Nathan Peats, 10. Moeaki Fotuaika, 11. Bryce Cartwright, 12. Tyrone Peachey, 13. Jai Arrow, 14. Mitch Rein, 15. Shannon Boyd, 16. Jai Whitbread, 17. Jack Stockwell
Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. David Fusitu’a, 3. Peta Hiku, 4. Patrick Herbert, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Kodi Nikorima, 7. Blake Green, 8. Agnatius Paasi, 17. Karl Lawton, 10. Leeson Ah Mau, 11. Isaiah Papali’i, 12. Tohu Harris, 13. Adam Blair, 9. Issac Luke, 14. Jazz Tevaga, 15. Bunty Afoa, 16. Lachlan Burr