Saturday May 24, 2014 @ 05:30pm
Gold Coast Titans
New Zealand Warriors
Cbus Super Stadium
Half time Score: 16
Crowd: 18753
Half time Score: 14

Match Review

A depleted Gold Coast Titans side showed real grit to only go down by 8 points to the Warriors, 24-16, at CBUS Super Stadium tonight. The lead changed a number of times in the first half with both sides playing an entertaining brand of footy that should leave the home crowd with at least some satisfaction. Both sides began enthusiastically with back to back sets and it was the Warriors Prop Ben Matulino who opened the scoring for the third game in succession after strolling through a yawning gap, well exploited by Chad Townsend. The Titans, who were without first-choice halves Albert Kelly and Aidan Sezer opened their account through a scheming Maurice Blair who sent a grubber through at an uncomfortable height for Sam Tomkins. Tomkins couldn't handle and it was Dave Taylor touching down to even up the scores. The next try, arguably the best of the game, involved rookie David Fusitua who took the defence on inside his own half and offloaded superbly to Shaun Johnson. Johnson still had a mountain of work to do, though, as is his wont, he made the 60 metre dash around the fullback Zillman look easy.

The rest of the half was a see-sawing contest, with a heavy penalty count favouring the home side 6-1. Tries to Dave Taylor (28th minute), Fusitua (37th minute) and a 40th minute hat trick touch down to the ‘Coal Train' meant that the Titans went to the break leading 16-14.

Inevitably, the penalties started flowing to the Warriors in the second stanza, and while most were due, it must get a bit much for fans to know that the ‘square-up' will most likely happen in the second half. The Warriors took full advantage in the 46th minute with a try to Simon Mannering, who showed his experience and strength to just get the ball over the line despite the attentions of a number of Titans defenders. Ben Matulino and Manu Vatuvei kept the Warriors on the front foot, their charges early in the Warriors sets ensuring the Titans were backpedalling. At one stage the Warriors had five consecutive sets on the Titans line. The Titans showed real ticker to hold out the Warriors until the 62nd minute when Konrad Hurrell showed off his renowned strength to offload for his winger Fusitua's second ‘bit of meat' in the right corner. The Warriors had the Lion's share of possession and territory in the final 15 minutes, though the weary Titans sideheld them out again and again. The final score of 24-16 to the Warriors sees the Kiwis record their seventh straight in the W column, and they will head into their next round clash at Mt. Smart against the struggling Knights brimming with confidence. For the Titans, Coach Cartwright will be full of admiration for his team's showing tonight, though the loss does mean that they will most likely drop out of the eight, after leading the completion not too long ago. The Titans will have a much needed rest with a bye in round 12.  

Players of the Match

3. Ben Matulino

2. Dave Taylor

1. Manu Vatuvei

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