Defense shines as Brisbane buck Titans

The Brisbane Broncos continued with their new found defensive dominance by grinding out a tough 14-8 victory against the Gold Coast Titans tonight.

The history between Brisbane and the Gold Coast is well documented, and tonight's performance will only increase the fierce rivalry between the two South Queensland clubs.

The first half was all the Gold Coast as Brisbane made error after error. Such was the dominance by the Titans that Broncos were only inside their 20m zone once in the first half, and that opportunity was squandered by another Broncos error.

Attack after attack was repelled by Brisbane, who defended extremely well for the whole game and appeared to be one step in front of the Gold Coast the whole time.

The Titans came close to scoring at the 30 minute mark after Anthony Laffranchi barged over from dummy half. Video evidence was inconclusive and Russell Smith had to send it back down to the referee. Gavin Badger quickly ruled held up and awarded a penalty to the Titans after a Broncos player didn't get both feet back behind the goal line.

It looked like it was going to be a scoreless first half until some enterprising play from the Titans in the final minute. A Broncos error bounced into the arms of Ryan James, who quickly fired the ball out to Esi Tonga. After a quick 20m counter attack Tonga offloaded the ball to Steve Michaels, who went flying down the touch line. Michaels put in a grubber kick as he came to the stand in fullback Gerard Beale, who looked to have it covered until the ball bounced right over his head and into Michaels' arms. Scott Prince kicked the conversion and it was 6-0 to the home side at half time.

Brisbane came out after half time looking confident, but were quickly brought back to earth four minutes into the second half. What looked like a simple take from Jharal Yow Yeh was dropped, resulting in the ball bouncing off 4 different players before Scott Prince dived on it to claim a try. The video referee found that Bodene Thompson touched the ball in the air and ruled no try courtesy of a double knock on.

At the 54 minute mark Matt Gillett changed the game after he charged down a kick from Greg Bird, and quickly regathered the ball. Ben Hunt was clever out of dummy half and created an overlap. The Broncos spread the ball through several sets of hands and Alex Glenn was over in the corner. Corey Parker nailed the conversion from the sideline and the game was level.

A great dummy half run from Ben Hunt resulted in the Titans lying on him too long, and giving the Broncos a penalty 35 meters out. With points at a premium the Broncos decided to take the two points.

The game was level again 12 minutes later after the Titans received a penalty for a strip, and Scott Prince opted to take the two points.

Two minutes later the Broncos hit the lead again after some great individual work from returning star, Justin Hodges. After getting the ball from a scrum Hodges went for one of his typical runs and managed to fend off Greg Bird and Esi Tonga before strolling over the line. Parker again kicked the conversion from the sideline to make the score 14-8.

A desperate Titans outfit would have tied the game again in the final minute if it wasn't for some brilliant defense from Gerard Beale. William Zillman looked certain to score after breaking the line and weaving through the defense until Beale grabbed him from behind and brought him down just short of the line. Unfortunately for the Titans, Zillman couldn't help himself and extended his arm to score the try, but was penalised for a double movement and effectively ended the night for the Titans.

The Titans threw everything they had at the Broncos tonight, and although they were flat at times sheer weight of possession meant the Broncos were tackling all night. Prince and Zillman formed a dangerous combination, but were simply unable to find the line. The Broncos also are yet to concede a try in the second half this year.

Next week the Broncos face a dangerous Panthers outfit at Suncorp Stadium, while the Titans will try avoid a 0-4 start to the season down in Canberra.

Match Details
Gold Coast Titans 8 were defeated by Brisbane Broncos 14
National Rugby League - Round 3 - Friday March 25, 2011 8:45pm
Venue: Skilled Park
Referee: Gavin Badger and Brett Suttor
Video Referee: Russell Smith
Touch Judges: Michael Wise and Ricky McFarlane
Crowd: 20,226
Halftime: Gold Coast Titans 6 Brisbane Broncos 0

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Corey Parker (2 Conversions, 1 Penalty Goal)
2 Points - Ben Hunt
1 Point - Matt Gillett

GOLD COAST TITANS (8)
Tries: Steve Michaels
Conversions: Scott Prince (1/1)
Penalty Goals: Scott Prince (1/1)

BRISBANE BRONCOS (14)
Tries: Justin Hodges, Alex Glenn
Conversions: Corey Parker (2/2)
Penalty Goals: Corey Parker (1/1)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Get the popcorn ready, because this one promises to be a blockbuster. Tonight, it's the Titans and the Broncos on Friday Night Football!

Last weeks the Titans were woeful against the Storm whilst Broncos coach Anthony Griffin got off the mark with a dour win against the Raiders. Both teams have a lot to improve upon and with bragging rights at stake expect both teams to bring their A game this week.
Matt White has been omitted from the Titans' line up tonight. Michael Henderson comes into the starting line up, and Brad Meyers takes his place on the bench.

The Broncos will be 1-17 as named on Tuesday.
5 minutes away from kick off at Skilled Park.
1 min: Titans kick off. Broncos have the first possession.
2 min: Good first set from both teams.
4 min: Good conditions at Skilled Park tonight. There should be no excused for poor ball control tonight. No errors so far. So far so good.
7 min: Scrum to the Titans after a Broncos error.
7 min: There's a scrum penalty! The Broncos didn't bind properly, giving the Titans good field position.
8 min: Broncos got out of jail there. Hodges put a bit of pressure on Zillman, who just dropped the ball cold.
9 min: Wallace knocks on in his own half. Good field position for the Titans.
10 min: Titans trap Beale in goal after a nice kick from Greg Bird. Line drop-out.
10 min: Dropped by Henderson. Opportunity wasted by the Titans.
12 min: Brisbane are looking a bit soft up the middle here. Plenty opening up for the Titans.
13 min: Broncos get a penalty after Greg Bird walks off the mark. Lockyer fails to find touch on the kick.
15 min: Another drop out to the Titans after Hoffman is forced to run the ball dead.
16 min: Hodges takes Esi Tonga over the sideline. Scrum to the Broncos deep in their own half.
17 min: Titans have had 65% of possession thus far.
18 min: Thaiday is down hurt here for the Broncos. Got his head in a bad position there and copped a knee from Luke Bailey.
19 min: Gerard Beale drops a sitter. Titans on the attack 10m out from the Broncos line.
20 min: Awful kick from Scott Prince there. Broncos get the ball back and relieve a bit of pressure.
21 min: Josh McGuire knocks on with his first touch. That's back to back errors for the Broncos in their own half.
22 min: Titans force another line drop out. It's been all the Titans so far.
23 min: Esi Tonga knocks on trying to play the ball. The Titans are their own worst enemy at the moment.
24 min: The Broncos get a penalty and are now attacking the Titans line.
26 min: Gillett loses the ball trying to offload.
28 min: Titans on the attack again. They are making a lot of meters up the middle of the ruck.
28 min: Jack Reed makes a great try saving tackle on Bodene Thompson.
29 min: Josh Hoffman knocks on a Scott Prince grubber. More pressure here.
30 min: Video Ref checking a try to the Titans.
30 min: Refs Call: Held Up says Gavin Badger.

Titans get a penalty after an offside. They take the tap.
32 min: Zillman knocks on an inside ball from Greg Bird. Hoffman catches the rebound and embarks on a 50m counter attack down field. Hoffman is now down for the Broncos.
32 min: Hoffman is OK to play on.
32 min: Broncos get a scrum feed 10m out from the Titans line after a pass from Hodges is knocked out by Steve Michaels.
34 min: Reshuffle here for the Broncos as Hoffman is forced from the field. Beale has gone to fullback and Alex Glenn is now on the left wing.
34 min: Opportunity wasted by the Broncos after Alex Glenn fails to take a Lockyer cut out pass.
36 min: Wow. End to end there. Prince puts in a chip for himself, but it is nicely snapped up but Gerard Beale, who launches a counter attack. Beale draws the defender, passes to Reed, who couldn't beat the cover defense of William Zillman and is taken into touch.
38 min: Gillett makes another error trying to force a pass.
39 min: Late penalty to the Titans here.
39 min: Josh McGuire jolts the ball out of Luke Bailey's arms. Broncos should get the the last play of the half.
39 min: Checking a try to the Titans.
40 min: TRY
A great try there from the Titans right on halftime. Broncos knock on the ball which ends up out with Esi Tonga, who breaks away down field, draws the winger and gets it out to Steve Michaels. Michaels has too much pace for Hodges and puts in a grubber, which bounces over the top of fullback Gerard Beale and slams the ball down.
Gold Coast Titans 6-0
40 min: That's halftime from Skilled Park. Titans lead 6-0. Join me for the second half shortly.
41 min: We're back live. Broncos kick off and Titans have first possession of the second half.
43 min: Josh Hoffman won't return tonight. He has a bad cork in his thigh.
44 min: Penalty to the Titans. The ball was stripped out by Lockyer with 3 men in the tackle.
45 min: Checking a try to the Titans.
45 min: NO TRY. A double knock on in an aerial contest. Titans get the scrum feed.
47 min: Parker down for the Broncos. Copped an accidental knee there from Esi Tonga.
47 min: Parker plays on.
48 min: Josh McGuire knocks on and gifts the Titans another attacking opportunity.
50 min: Greg Bird's kick is charged down by Matt Gillett.
52 min: TRY
Matt Gillett's charge down created a lot of space down the left hand side. Ben Hunt was quick out of dummy half and the Broncos took advantage of an overlap, spreading it through hands and Alex Glenn scores in the corner.

Parker nails the conversion from the sideline.
6 all
54 min: Ben Hunt is causing major problems out of dummy half. Takes a 20m run and then draws a penalty. Broncos will take the shot at goal.
54 min: PENALTY GOAL
Parker easily kicks the goal from 35m out & right in front.
Brisbane Broncos 8-6
56 min: Prince knocks on for the Titans. Just took his eyes of it.
58 min: Brilliant tackle from Gerard Beale on William Zillman prevents a certain Titans try. Zillman looked certain to score.
59 min: Scott Prince kicks early in the count and gets a repeat set after Glenn is trapped in goal.
60 min: Brisbane hold out the Titans again.
62 min: Massive bomb is defused by Jack Reed.
62 min: Strip missed by the referees. Steve Michael raked the ball out of Hodges' hands, but it was called a knock on. Lucky there for the Titans.
64 min: Horrible decision there by Riley Brown to run from dummy half on the last tackle. Broncos easily wrapped him up.
66 min: Strong defense from Andrew McCullough knocks the ball out of Henderson's hands. Broncos on the attack.
68 min: McCullough knocks on from dummy half. Titans scrum on the halfway line.
68 min: Broncos are ruled to have stripped the ball, though replays suggest he was just a loose carry. Back chat from Justin Hodges gifts the titans a 10m walk down field.

Titans are taking the 2.
68 min: PENALTY GOAL
Prince scrapes it past the left hand upright. It's a tied game again.
8 all
69 min: Forward pass from Riley Brown sees the Broncos back on the attack.
69 min: TRY
Welcome back Justin Hodges. Classic Hodges run from the scrum as he fends off Greg Bird and slides past Esi Tonga to score a try.

Hodges' has been taken from the field clutching at his hammy.
Brisbane Broncos 14-8
74 min: Titans running with some purpose at the moment.
76 min: Greg Bird pass is ruled forward. Broncos will get a scrum feed in great field position.
77 min: Peter Wallace misses a field goal from right in front.
78 min: Knock on against Brisbane after an intercept goes wrong. Titans will have a scrum just on Brisbane's side of halfway.
79 min: William Zillman gets pulled up for a double movement after another try saving tackle by the Broncos. That should be the game.
80 min: That's full time at Skilled Park. The Broncos have ground out a 14-8 victory over the Titans despite only having 40% of possession for nearly the whole game.

The Titans threw everything at Brisbane, but their defense was too good in the end.

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