In an opening round punctuated by injuries to star players, Cronulla Sharks captain Paul Gallen joined a growing casualty ward when he limped off in the 38th minute of his side's 18-12 loss to the Gold Coast Titans.
Gallen was helped up the tunnel by two trainers after suffering what is believed to be an ankle syndesmosis injury which could see him sidelined for some time. He told Fox Sports commentator Andy Raymond that he instantly knew something was wrong when his right leg buckled.
"I felt something crack or give. I'll have scans tomorrow and see what happens," he said.
Despite defending their line as tackles inside their own 20-metre zone mounted to 29, the Sharks opened the scoring in the 15th minute through Roosters recruit Tinirau Arona. Gallen took the ball to the Titans defence before offloading out the back. With a staggered defensive line approaching, Arona stepped off his left foot and sliced through, winning the race to the corner.
Gallen's New South Wales teammate, and good mate Greg Bird hit back for the Titans minutes later when he dived over from close range, beating the desperate attempted tackles from Daniel Holdsworth and Matt Prior to score out wide.
The Titans took a four-point lead to the break when halfback Albert Kelly swooped on an Isaac De Gois pass out of dummy half as his side defended their tryline. Kelly raced 95 metres to score up the other end as Michael Gordon chased in vain.
An ugly second half was punctuated by errors from both sides but Sharks five-eighth Wade Graham put his side back in front in the 51st minute after timing his run perfectly to latch onto a Daniel Holdsworth grubber kick.
Unfortunately for the Sharks and their fans they couldn't hold on and William Zillman's try in the 71st minute proved decisive as the Titans held on for a valuable six-point victory.
Titans halfback Albert Kelly was adjudged man of the match and told Fox Sports after the game it was an important win. "It was an ugly game, but credit to the boys for getting the job done," he said