The Gold Coast Titans finished off their season in style beating the Bulldogs 19-18 in a Sunday afternoon classic at Cbus Super Stadium.
With the match having less of an impact on the makeup of the finals than other games in the round, this clash was meant to just be an early hit out for the Dogs who were finals bound while the Titans were no hope on finals football and they were playing for pride in the jersey they were wearing.
The 1st half went as per program with the Dogs getting out to an early lead through centre Tim Lafai who scored after some good lead up play from Reynolds who released Jackson through a hole and he could offload for Lafai to put first points on the board. The Dogs were in again soon enough when the big English international James Graham barged over from close range to extend Canterbury's lead. Reni Maitua then scored his first try for the Bulldogs since 2008 when he picked up the scraps and handed the away side with an 18-0 lead close to half time.
A few seconds before halftime saw an extremely strange twist of events. Josh Reynolds, with ball in hand heard the siren sound and then bizarrely threw the ball back in field which was caught by Don and the home side were away only for the touch judge to say Reynolds had a foot on the sideline before he handed off the ball.
Even with an 18-0 lead, the Dogs were unconvincing and still lacked a killer threat on the opposition line and although they headed into the sheds at the break with a handy lead, they needed to stay focused. What followed was a total role reversal in the 2nd half with the Titans coming out looking refreshed and determined to get back into the game, while the Dogs seemingly switched completely off, almost as if they were already focusing on next week's game before finishing off this one.
FaiFai Loa started the comeback as a dropped Sezer bomb was jumped upon by the Titans winger to get the home side on the board. The Gold Coast outfit had all the momentum when Anthony Don pounced upon a Mitch Brown dropped ball and raced 80m to score to bring the score back to 18-10.
The comeback was well and truly alive when retiree Mark Minichiello was able to score in the corner and bring the score to 18-14 with 8 minutes left on the clock. Three minutes later it happened: Takairangi was able to muscle his way over from dummy half from close range and level the scores with a minute left. It all came down to Daniel Mortimer to convert to complete the comeback. He was unable to convert as he hit the upright and the scores remained 18-18 and we went into golden point.
From a Titans knock in the 82nd minute, the Bulldogs had the first chance at field goal which was spooned inexplicably wide by halfback Trent Hodkinson and he was made to pay for that miss just a minute later as Zillman's attempt at went straight over the black dot and handed the Titans a miraculous 1 point victory and cued celebrations all over the stadium from players and fans alike who haven't had the happiest of seasons.
The Bulldogs will wonder what went wrong, but they will need to turn around their form and most importantly their attitude next week as they face a daunting trip south to Melbourne to face a red hot Storm outfit proving that they aren't past their best just yet.