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Gold Coast down brave Broncos
Despite being hit with a raft of injuries in the second half, the home side were able to hold out a dominant Brisbane side for much of the game, eventually coming behind to record a four-point victory.
It didn't start with a lot of excitement, with neither side posting a point in the opening half-hour of the contest. It was at that point, completely against the run of play, that Ben Hunt put Alex Glenn into space before backing his second-rower up to score the first points of the game. Blunt attack from the Titans and a remaining ten minutes littered with errors ensured the Broncos took a 6-0 lead to halftime.
The low-scoring nature of the contest was shown early in the second half, with just four minutes passing before the Broncos decided to add to the score after a penalty near the posts. The visitors' lead extended to eight points, but they would not score again despite holding plenty of possession throughout the second half.
Much like Brisbane's try, the Titans opening four-pointer of the contest, which came at the 60-minute mark, was against the run of play. Brisbane were enjoying plenty of ball and field position before David Mead swooped on a poor grubber from Ben Hunt and Mead went the length of the field despite an admirable chase from Broncos' prop Josh McGuire. The gap was closed to two, then both sides entered a tough grind as the Broncos desperately clung to their lead.
Mark Minichiello came painfully close to a lead-grabbing try in the 65th minute, before the match-winner was scored by Aidan Sezer some ten minutes later. Albert Kelly flung the ball extra-high (which seemed to be a go-to tactic for the Titans all night) and Ben Barba elected to watch it bounce - and despite claiming it after the second bounce, Barba had it plucked from his grasp by Sezer one-on-one who scored to put his side ahead.
The Titans held out right to the end, including a late penalty goal attempt gone wrong, and in spite of injuries to Anthony Don and Ashley Harrison. They continue to lead the competition outright regardless of results this weekend now, and still have a negative points differential. They now have a long lay-off before facing the Panthers at Penrith on Easter Monday. Brisbane are of course featuring again in seven days time, with their clash against Newcastle at Hunter Stadium taking place on Good Friday.
Gold Coast Titans 12 Brisbane Broncos 8
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium
Halftime Score: Gold Coast Titans 0 Brisbane Broncos 6
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Welcome to Cbus Super Stadium for the M1 Derby edition of the Friday Night Football with the Titans and Broncos going head to head. Happy to report all the snakes have been cleared and we're set for a 7:40pm kickoff. In TEAM NEWS... well, there is none. Both sides are as per program. Hit the TEAMS & INFO tab to see the lineups.
2: Yuck, horrible kick from Josh Hoffman early at the end of the Broncos' first set. Titans ball starting on halfway.
3: Barba takes the last tackle grubber with ease, read the Albert Kelly kick perfectly. Broncos work it out of their own end now.
8: Silly and unnecessary offload from the Broncos is intercepted by Dave Taylor who was returning to the defensive line. Titans now working it up the park. Now compounded by a penalty on the Broncos 40m for the Titans!
10: Outstanding Broncos defence... now on the last, the Titans go high and Copley takes it on the full in-goal. 20m restart Broncos.
11: Alex Glenn penalised for tackling in the air as a Titans' player went up for a high ball. Gold Coast penalty on their own 10m, set to start just short of halfway.
12: Kelly goes high on the last - Brisbane's Daniel Vidot knocks on before the Titans retrieve it and are put into touch. Titans scrum feed just 10m out!
16: Already slowing things down Brisbane, they trickle a long range kick into touch on the Titans' 10m. Gold Coast scrum.
20: There's a mess in the middle of the field, both teams knock on. Broncos ball.
21: Clever kick from Benny Barba traps Kevin Gordon in-goal. Line drop-out here, Titans will look to defend.
25: UNFORCED ERROR BRISBANE BRONCOS
Justin Hodges makes an unforced error.
He's done it again, this time in a heavy tackle. Hodges spills it on halfway, Titans scrum.
28: UNFORCED ERROR BRISBANE BRONCOS
Dale Copley makes an unforced error.
Copley spills it in goal - Justin Hodges tries to clean it up and run back to the field of play but the knock on is ruled. Drop-out Broncos, Titans another shot here.
29: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Ben Hunt. Kick to come.
BRONCOS ARE IN! After half an hour first points to the visitors - a long range effort from Ben Hunt, who put Alex Glenn in the clear then backed up to score himself.
30: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION BRISBANE BRONCOS
Conversion attempt by Corey Parker successful.
Parker adds the extras for the Broncos.
34: Broncos on the attack again, and that's helped along by a penalty just 35m out. Supposedly for a strip, but I can't see where that was stripped.
37: Titans earn a repeat set near the Broncos line. Perfect chance to strike back here...
38: Forward pass, Kelly to Bird... on replay it's a pretty ordinary call. Titans unlucky there.
39: Titans with one more set to have a go at the Broncos' line before the break.
40: Titans make it a 20m restart for Brisbane after Bird's grubber goes dead.
That will do us for the first half, Brisbane put it high but it's taken soundly by the Gold Coast. Brisbane up 6-0 through a Ben Hunt try.
41: Back underway on the Gold Coast in this one.
43: Brisbane with a penalty to put them on the attack.
44: SUCCESSFUL PENALTY GOAL BRISBANE BRONCOS
Penalty goal attempt by Corey Parker successful.
Two points to the total for the Broncos... three penalties early have given Brisbane a chance to add to their lead.
47: Anthony Don ushered up the tunnel injured, clutching his arm - meanwhile Ash Harrison is coming off wincing, not sure on the injury. Titans in the wars and trailing by eight.
51: Titans getting smashed by injuries now, Don's issue was a dislocated finger, while Ash Harrison has a burner. Beau Falloon's also on the touchline being assisted, while Aiden Sezer's looking dusty out there but stays on the park. For Brisbane, Josh Hoffman is down getting his leg looked at.
55: Titans with a scrum feed on the Broncos' 40m. Good chance to reduce the gap here, the Titans remain scoreless today...
57: Broncos crack under pressure from the high ball... Titans six again with Dave Taylor swooping on the loose ball....
58: Very lucky for Brisbane - Titans kick on the last, it bounces off a Brisbane player, an offside Josh McGuire picks it up, but no penalty... play on. Odd.
60: Oh dear, their own worst enemy, Titans spill it just short of halfway and hand the Broncos a chance to extend their lead with a scrum inside Titans' territory.
65: VIDEO REFEREE possible try to the Titans' second rower Mark Minichiello... it's NO TRY - he's short of the line. Last tackle changeover for Brisbane.
72: Tense game as both sides look for a match winning try. Latest play is a long Broncos' fifth tackle kick finding touch on the Titans' 10m. Scrum Gold Coast, they'll want to make some metres here.
73: VIDEO REFEREE possible Titans TRY after another Barba error...
73: TRY GOLD COAST TITANS
Scored by Aidan Sezer. Kick to come.
IT'S AWARDED! Sezer's grabbed the ball after Barba let it bounce, but he's had it stripped one-on-one and Sezer has it! TRY TIME!
75: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION GOLD COAST TITANS
Conversion attempt by Aidan Sezer successful.
Sezer converts his try easily from in front - now the Titans have six minutes to protect a four-point lead!
77: Loose passing by Brisbane... Luke Douglas in his 200th game has taken a crafty intercept, but makes no metres. Titans playing it slowly now.
80: UNSUCCESSFUL PENALTY GOAL GOLD COAST TITANS
Penalty goal attempt by Greg Bird unsuccessful.
Bird attempts the penalty, it bounces back into the field of play but the Titans manage to bring the Broncos down to end the game.
FULLTIME and a hard-fought 12-8 win ensures the Gold Coast stay on top of he table for another week.