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The Wests Tigers have given champion fullback Brett Hodgson the send off he deserves, trouncing the Gold Coast Titans 28-12 in front of 20,723 supporters at a sunny Skilled Park this afternoon.
Hodgson will join the Huddersfield Giants in the Super League competition in the UK after an astonishing 12-year career in the NRL for the diminutive fullback.
In a game which had no bearing on the make-up of the top eight for this years final series, it was the Tigers who came out firing against a tired looking Coast outfit.
Wests raced to a rather easy 18-0 lead after the first half hour of the match in which exciting prospect Tim Moltzen scored a brace of tries and his centre partner Chris Lawrence crossed for one of his own as the Tigers looked set to end their disappointing season on a high.
However, some individual brilliance from Scott Prince, in which he kicked and regathered to score, gave the Titans a slight hope of a comeback, down 18-6 at half time.
The Tigers extinguished any hope of a Titans comeback with tries to Taniela Tuiaki and Beau Ryan in the second half, before a late try to Titans centre Brett Delaney added some respectability to the score, 28-12.
Hodgson was again at his brilliant best for the Tigers proving that he still has what it takes to play at the top level. He was everywhere, denying Titans comeback raids single-handedly on many occasions.
Benji Marshall was also magnificent for the Tigers, orchestrating a number of their tries and guiding them around the park.
The match marked the end of the season for both sides who will look to rebuild in the off season after what can only be described as a season of what-ifs, as inconsistency and injuries to key players plagued both sides at crucial points of the season.
Match Details Wests Tigers 28 def Gold Coast Titans 12 Round 26 - Sunday September 7th, 2008 3:00pm Venue: Skilled Park Referee: Bernard Sutton Touch Judges: Matt Cecchin, Rod Lawrence Video Referee: Chris Ward Crowd: 20,723 Halftime: Titans 6 Tigers 18 Gold Coast Titans 12 Tries: Scott Prince, Brett Delaney Goals: Scott Prince (2/2) Wests Tigers 28 Tries: Tim Moltzen (2), Chris Lawrence, Taniela Tuiaki, Beau Ryan Goals: Brett Hodgson (4/5) LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Brett Hodgson (Tigers) 2 Points: Benji Marshall (Tigers) 1 Point: Tim Moltzen (Tigers) Leagueunlimited.com Live Commentary
Good Afternoon and welcome to Skilled Stadium for the leagueunlimited.com live coverage of the match between the Gold Coast Titans and Wests Tigers.
The game has no bearing whatsoever on the make-up of the top 8, but still looks on paper to be one of the entertaining matches of the round with plenty of attacking players in either side. In a late change for the Titans, Luke Bailey is out of the side. Named in the side after 11 weeks on the sidelines, Bailey pulled up sore after training during the week and wont take his place. Will Matthews moves into the run-on side and Billy Ngawini onto the bench. James Stosic is also out for the Titans with Selasie Berdie taking his spot on the bench.
While for the Tigers, the match will be full of emotion, looking to send captain Brett Hodgson out a winner in his last match in Wests Tigers colours. Daine Laurie is out for the Tigers, his spot taken by Shannon Gallant. And a late positional change with Bronson Harrison coming back to the bench and Corey Payne into the run-on side.
Line-ups for today's game are:
TITANS: 1. Ben Jeffery 2. Jordan Atkins 3. Gavin Cooper 4. Brett Delaney 5. Esi Tonga 6. Mat Rogers 7. Scott Prince (c) 16. Will Matthews 9. Clint Amos 10. Michael Hodgson 11. Anthony Laffranchi 12. Daniel Conn 13. Ashley Harrison Interchange: 15. Aaron Cannings 17. Luke Swain 20.Billy Ngawini 18. Selasie Berdie TIGERS: 1. Brett Hodgson (c) 2. Taniela Tuiaki 3. Tim Moltzen 4. Chris Lawrence 5. Beau Ryan 6. Benji Marshall 7. John Morris 8. Todd Payten 9. Dene Halatau 10. Bryce Gibbs 16. Corey Payne 12. Chris Heighington 13. Liam Fulton Interchange: 14. Rocky Trimarchi 15. Ben Te