Gold Coast Titans have defeated Wests Tigers 22-6 in their Round 8 clash at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday afternoon — ending the hosts’ three-game winning streak.
Tim Simona crossed for the hosts’ lone try just after half-time, but it would be all in vain. The Titans were simply far too superior in wet conditions, and emerged with a deserved victory in the end, in front of a crowd of 8,929 at Leichhardt Oval.
Aiden Sezer appeared to have secured the first points of the game when he lined up for an early penalty goal right in front of the posts, but his kick was waved away — much to the delight of the extremely pro-Wests Tigers crowd.
However, the five-eighth soon made amends for his error with a sharp stepping run close to the posts — beating Kurtis Rowe to plant the ball down.
He duly converted his own try from in front for a 6-0 lead after eight minutes.
A questionable penalty for an offside against Pat Richards saw Sezer with another chance for points soon after, and this time he made no mistake.
That gave the visitors an 8-0 lead after 13 minutes of play.
Wests Tigers threatened to hit back soon after, but an Albert Kelly intercept close to the line nullified the raid. The Titans then quickly spread the ball up field to launch an attacking set, and it took two excellent individual pieces of defence from Pat Richards and David Nofoaluma to keep the visitors at bay once more.
Simona appeared to have the hosts’ first try of the day when he crossed in the 24th minute, but the video referee denied it — due to obstruction.
Luke Brooks almost pulled off a spectacular play in the 27th minute when he went for an intercept attempt, but could not hold on.
That gave the Titans solid field position again, and after winning another penalty close to the Wests Tigers line, added two more through a penalty goal to Greg Bird.
That gave the hosts a 10-0 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the half.
Wests Tigers continued to mount attacking pressure and looked likely to score next, until the visitors struck back against the run of play.
A Paul Carter charge-down in the 36th minute led to a swift attacking break from the youngster, and he eventually linked back up with Anthony Don, who raced away from Kurtis Rowe and Brooks in cover defence to score under the posts.
Bird added the extras from in front to give the Titans a commanding lead at the break — leading 16-0, although they would have to finish the match without Kelly.
It was imperative that Wests Tigers scored first after half-time, and they soon did, thanks to a moment of class from Blake Austin. The interchange half kicked through and then kicked for himself once more, before Simona finished off the move with a desperate dive in the in-goal after an attempted clearing kick from Gordon.
Richards converted from close to the sideline to reduce the margin to 16-6.
As the rain continued to fall at Leichhardt Oval, handling remained a problem for both teams, and the visitors soon took advantage of their opponents’ errors.
A well-weighted grubber from Sezer found Bird, who beat Rowe to plant it down next to the posts. The second-rower then converted his own try to push the lead back to 16 points and deflate the momentum of the home crowd and their supporters.
Don seemed destined to extend the lead even further when he went clear down the right wing, but a superb cover tackle from Rowe saw the winger plant the ball down on the sideline and fail to grab a second four-pointer.
Liam Fulton came within a whisker of reducing the gap once more in the 62nd minute when he game agonizingly short of grounding a Brooks’ grubber.
Blake Austin limped off in the 70th minute after being on the bottom of a big tackle from Aaron Woods on Ryan James, with Wests Tigers yet to confirm how serious his lower leg injury is. David Nofoaluma and Braith Anasta also sustained injuries in the final 10 minutes of the match, although both remained on the field until the final siren.
Neither team would trouble the score in the final quarter of an hour, as strong defence and sloppy attack saw the score remain 22-6 until the final siren.
Full time: Gold Coast Titans 22 def. Wests Tigers 6