The Gold Coast Titans have put in a gutsy defensive display to run out 24-12 winners in front of 9,636 fans at GIO Stadium on Sunday night.
In what was an extremely close arm wrestle for most of the match, the Raiders failed to make the most of numerous opportunities and had no answer to a Titans defence lead by Greg Bird and Nate Myles. The Titans, on the other hand, made the most of limited opportunities and a brilliant display from Albert Kelly to come away with the two points.
The first half was a low scoring affair with both teams playing field position and not giving much away to their opposition. The Titans were the first to find the line when Beau Falloon scooted out from dummy half and dived between a couple of lazy Raiders defenders to open the scoring. Greg Bird, who took over the kicking duties from the inured Aidan Sezer for the night, converted the try to give the Titans a 6-0 advantage 17 minutes into the match.
The Raiders hit back with a converted try of their own in the 25th minute when Jarrod Croker dived on a grubber kick after David Mead earlier gave away a cheap penalty to gift the Raiders good attacking field position.
The back end of the opening stanza was mostly spent in the Titans half as the Raiders went on attacking raid after attacking raid. The Titans defence did well to keep the Raiders at bay for a number of sets but the weight of possession was too much for the tiring Titans players. An overlap sent Anthony Milford over in the left hand corner in the 37th minute to give the Raiders a 12-6 half time lead.
The second half saw the Titans come out with a point to prove and when Paul Carter caught the Raiders markers napping to dive over from dummy half, it felt as though the momentum of the match had shifted. Bird converted the try and followed it up with a penalty goal just two minutes later to give the Titans a 14-12 lead in 46th minute.
With a lead to defend, Albert Kelly did an outstanding job controlling field position with a number of last tackle options finding the turf deep inside the Raiders own half. The Raiders had numerous opportunities to get over the line but they had no answers to a Titans defensive line that was determined on not giving up their lead.
The Raiders had the better of the field position late in the match, but when Albert Kelly threw a dummy and burst through the Raiders defence to score a converted try in the 78th minute you sensed the Raiders were beaten. The Titans put the result beyond doubt when Albert Kelly picked up a loose ball in his own half to run 60 metres and secure a 24-12 victory for the Titans.
The Raiders will be sweating on a foot injury to Edrick Lee who went off in the 32nd minute before a tough match against the Rabbitohs next Sunday. The Titans, on the other hand, will head back home confident that they can beat the Cowboys in an all Queensland affair next Monday night.