Dragons hold on against gallant Titans

Round 1 - Full Time :: March 18th, 2007 Titans 18 defeated by Dragons 20

The St-George Illawarra Dragons have put a dampener on the Gold Coast Titans party, defeating the new franchise 20-18 in a sloppy but entertaining match in front of a crowd of 42,030 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. The match was tied up at 6-all at half time.

The Titans opened the scoring with Chris Walker scoring the franchises inaugural try after a slick backline movement, Walker crossing out wide. He slotted the conversion and the Titans were up 6-0 after eight minutes. Four minutes later the Titans looked a good chance to cross again, however Lelea Paea made the first of his many mistakes. After several minutes of knocking on the door the Dragons finally scored through youngster Richard Williams running back against a sliding defence. The rest of the first half was punctuated by a number of errors curtailing scoring chances for both sides.

The Dragons took the lead 8-6 after the Titans were penalised in possession for an incorrect play the ball. Six minutes later the Dragons extended their lead to eight with a Richard Williams intercept try off an errant pass by Matt Hilder. Two minutes later the Dragons went up 20-6 through a Keith Lulia try. Chris Walker was placed on report for a dangerous tackle in the lead up to the try.

Just as the Dragons threatened to run away with the game the Titans put up a gallant comeback. Chris Walker picked up his second try, and added the conversion. Six minutes later the Titans were in again, Jake Webster pouncing on a Dragons mistake to cut the Dragons lead to just two points. The Dragons managed to hold out the Titans for the final few minutes, camping out on the Titans line forcing the Titans to defend strongly. The Titans did have two chances to steal the win - one was cancelled out by a forward pass, the other was a Rogers break and kick ahead which was almost recovered by Paea who lost the ball. The Titans were unable to break the line late and the Dragons got away with the win.

Next week the Dragons host Friday Night Football against the Knights, while the Titans have eight days off and will host the Sharks at Cararra on Monday night.

Venue: Suncorp Stadium Referee: Shayne Hayne

Gold Coast Titans 18 Tries: Chris Walker 2, Jake Webster Goals: Chris Walker 3/3 St George Illawarra Dragons 20 Tries: Richard Williams 2, Keith Lulia Goals: Wes Naiqama 4/4 Huge crowd in at Suncorp, the weather is beautiful. Just waiting on the national anthem.

1 min: The Dragons kick off in the Gold Coast Titans first regular season game.

4 min: Preston Campbell at fullback is being peppered by bombs.

6 min: Some very solid hits in defence so far.

8 min: VIDEO REF - For possibly the Titans first try - checking for an obstruction.

8 min: TRY Gold Coast Titans The ball is sent wide to Chris Walker who breaks away and scores out wide in the tackle of two defenders. Conversion attempt by Chris Walker from touch is successful. Gold Coast Titans 6-0

12 min: Paea drops the ball with the Titans making a great backline move.

15 min: The Dragons throw a forward pass ending a promising attacking set.

16 min: A great kick from Prince finds touch 10 metres out from the Dragons line.

18 min: The Titans looking very good when the ball gets out to Rogers, Paea seems to have butterfingers however.

19 min: Campbell drops a bomb cold, 10 out with nobody around him. Dragons to go right on attack.

20 min: Just completed a water break and the game is back on, Dragons attacking.

21 min: The Titans really step up on defence and wrap the Dragons up on the last tackle.

22 min: Preston Campbell loses the ball again, this time after a solid hit.

22 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Great lateral play by the Dragons has Hornby running right and passing back inside to Williams who scored untouched 15 to the right of the posts. A try was coming, given the field position the Dragons have had in the past few minutes. Conversion attempt by Wes Naiqama successful. 6 all

25 min: Naiqama takes an intercept off an errant Titans pass, but the play is called back for a penalty for the Dragons being offside.

28 min: The Titans pick up a goal line dropout after a fairly good attacking set.

29 min: Naiqama knocks the ball down while the Titans are on attack with a clear overlap. Another set for the Titans, but no immediate try.

30 min: Henderson loses the ball as he charges as the goal line. Quite a few errors from both sides so far.

34 min: A loose pass by the Dragons on attack is picked up by the Titans, moments later the Titans pick up a penalty.

34 min: Stosic loses the ball on the hitup after the penalty. Handling errors aplenty right now, as the Dragons are pulled back for a forward pass.

38 min: Payne attempts to pass the ball after being held, right on the goal line costing the Dragons a great attacking opportunity.

39 min: The Titans are looking tired and must be hanging on for halftime.

40 min: Hornby puts up a bomb, Walker drops it and it is recovered by Cooper who loses the ball, play on is called.

40 min: The Titans get a penalty just on halftime, they put up a bomb that is taken care of by Morris.

HALFTIME At Suncorp Stadium in a match dominated by defence and errors.

The Titans dominating possession, 59% overall. They hae completed 12/19 sets compared to the Dragons 7/14. Both sides have missed six tackles each, while the titans have had to make 21 more tackles than the Dragons. The Gold Coast are killing the Dragons in offloads, with 6 to zero. The Dragons have made 8 errors to the Titans 7. The Dragons lead the penalty count 4-1.

Teams returning to the field for the second half.

40 min: Back underway at Suncorp Stadium

42 min: Campbell breaks up the middle, he gets smashed by Naiqama and loses the ball only five metres out.

44 min: PENALTY GOAL St George Illawarra Dragons The Titans are penalised in possession for an incorrect play the ball 18 metres out, right in front. Naiqama puts the Dragons in front. St George Illawarra Dragons 8-6

46 min: Dragons lose the ball working it out from their own end after the restart.

47 min: A tidy kick by Prince gets the Titans a dropout.

48 min: The Titans get a penalty and go on attack from 20 out.

48 min: Neither Campbell or Rogers can hold onto the ball and the Dragons come up with it.

50 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Williams takes an intercept out wide from Hilder, juggles it and outruns the cover to score under the posts and claim his second try. Conversion attempt by Wes Naiqama successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 14-6

52 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons A breakaway set from the Dragons has the Titans in disarray, Lulia scores out wide carrying defenders over the line. Conversion attempt by Wes Naiqama successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 20-6

52 min: ON REPORT - Chris Walker is on report for a late/high tackle.

56 min: Hornby warned for the Dragons slowing down the play the ball, Titans go on attack.

56 min: TRY Gold Coast Titans Off the back of the penalty, the Titans exploit an overlap and Walker scores his second try in the corner. Conversion attempt by Chris Walker is again successful from the touchline. St George Illawarra Dragons 20-12

58 min: DRINKS BREAK

58 min: Back underway

59 min: Great set by the Titans, a number of half breaks.

60 min: CROWD: 42,030

62 min: Another breakaway set from the Dragons, Ryles puts in a kick, Campbell fields it and breaks away to be pulled down. The match has really livened up in the second half.

63 min: Richard Williams attempts a 40/20 but puts it out on the full by about a metre.

64 min: VIDEO REF - For a Jake Webster try

64 min: TRY Gold Coast Titans Prince puts a little chip over the top, Morris loses the ball just over the goal line and Webster pounces on the ball to score. Conversion attempt by Chris Walker successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 20-18

67 min: Titans on attack off the back of a penalty.

68 min: Naiqama fields a bomb brilliantly and now has a cramp.

69 min: The Titans make a break up the middle through a slick interchange of passing, but the play is called back for a forward pass.

70 min: Wicks loses the ball, the Titans go back on attack. Campbell loses the ball a play later.

71 min: INJURY - Ben Creagh bleeding badly and hurt from a head clash before the last turnover. Lulia struggling with cramp as well. Bailey also having his head taped up.

71 min: Dragons with six more tackles after Walker drops a bomb. Dragons get a penalty for offside.

73 min: The Dragons pick up a goal line dropout.

75 min: VIDEO REF - for a Dragons try

75 min: NO TRY - Williams puts in a grubber kick, Paea loses the ball but Naiqama bounces the ball instead of forcing it. Still 20-18, goal line dropout.

76 min: The Titans hold out several repeat sets from the Dragons and they finally get the ball back.

77 min: Rogers makes a great break, kicks ahead. As Paea goes to pick up the ball with the line wide open he is smashed and loses the ball. Dragons get a penalty for a high tackle.

79 min: The Titans have a minute to go 90 metres to win the game.

80 min: Prince loses the ball in a great tackle, game all but over.

FULL TIME: The Dragons have won an entertaining game 20-18 over the Gold Coast Titans. LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Richard Williams 2 Points: Ben Creagh 1 Point: Nathan Friend

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