Wests Tigers have suffered a 36-28 loss to the Gold Coast Titans at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Saturday night.
Winger David Nofoaluma scored two late tries and Adam Doueihi crossed in the final moments, but the away side held on for an eight-point victory in the Round 9 clash.
The Titans scored six tries to five to claim victory — a disappointing result for Wests Tigers on a night the club celebrated the life of Tommy Raudonikis OAM in a special memorial round.
A number of errors from Wests Tigers in the opening 40 minutes marred the first half as Gold Coast scored four tries to two to lead 24-12 at the break.
It was far from an ideal start for the home side as the Titans raced out of the blocks with three tries in the opening 12 minutes.
Phillip Sami claimed the first four-pointer of the night after late inclusion Tanah Boyd placed a delicate grubber kick into the in-goal towards his winger, who cleaned up the loose ball to score.
The visitors doubled their advantage on the very next play with the Titans shifting the ball and scoring from the kickoff with Tyrone Peachey racing 60 metres to score.
Gold Coast centre Brian Kelly was next to score as the away side extended their lead to 18-0 after 12 minutes.
Joseph Leilua on the charge off the scrum
Wests Tigers needed to be next to score, and after gaining a flood of possession, Adam Doueihi teamed up with Joey Leilua to score off the back of a slick scrum-play.
With a vocal crowd at Campbelltown Sports Stadium spurring them on, Wests Tigers reduced the deficit to six points after 25 minutes when rookie dummy-half darted over to score his first ever NRL try.
Although Wests Tigers were increasing their momentum and starting to take control of the contest, it was the Titans who bagged the game’s next try when centre Beau Fermor scored following a Jamal Fogarty cross-field kick.
The Titans continued their scoring 10 minutes after the break when Sami bagged his second try of the night following a Fogarty line-break.
Boyd was next to score as the visitors extended their advantage to 36-12, before Nofoaluma scored a late double for Michael Maguire’s men — giving the 8,411-strong crowd the prospect of a grandstand finish.
Gold Coast forward David Fifita was sent to the sin bin for the final moments for a high shot on Doueihi which could see the big man in trouble with the Match Review Committee, before Doueihi himself crossed in the final minute of play.
A quick-fire double to Nofoaluma gives Wests Tigers hope
However, the kick was waved away from out wide, leaving the Titans to hold on to an eight-point win with Maguire's men still searching for their first home win of the year.
Wests Tigers will now turn their attention to next Friday’s Magic Round clash against the Newcastle Knights at Suncorp Stadium.
Gold Coast Titans 36 (Sami 2, Peachey, Kelly, Fermor, Boyd tries; Fogarty 6/6 goals) def. Wests Tigers 24 (Nofoaluma 2, Doueihi J.Leilua, Simpkin tries; Doueihi 4/5 goals) at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.