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The Gold Coast Titans have extended their winning streak to four games with a hard fought 28-22 victory over the Newcastle Knights at a rainy Carrara Stadium tonight. The Titans completely dominated the first half and led 10-6 at the break.
The start was ominous for the Knights who did not see the ball for the first seven minutes following a mistake on the opening set. The Titans opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a cleverly worked try to Matt Petersen after Mat Rogers recovered a Scott Prince grubber kick.
Unexpectedly, the Knights equalised only three minutes later after Preston Campbell lost the ball returning a kick and Luke Walsh returned the ball 20 metres for an easy try.
It only took another seven minutes for the Titans to complete the scoring in the first half after a glut of possession hot on attack saw Brett Delaney score for the home side. The rest of the half was scoreless, with the Knights playing diabolical football and doing well to go into half time down by only 4.
The contest came alive after the break, with Scott Prince setting up Matt Petersen by himself for a 10 point lead three minutes after the break.
The Knights responded 11 minutes later with Daniel Tolar running through a yawning gap to close the lead back to four points. However, the Titans nullified that effort with a great kick return effort, Preston Campbell who set up Matt Petersen to spin past five defenders and set Mat Rogers up to score in the corner.
Still this did not have the Titans in the clear, Adam MacDougall scoring off a cross field bomb with 14 minutes remaining, and the Gidley conversion cut the Titans lead to four.
Matt Petersen scored what proved to be the winning try for the Titans off a deflected offload in the 71st minute, but not without incident as he go into a tussle with Adam Woolnough.
A James McManus try in the 76th minute gave the Knights an opportunity to take the match to extra time, but on the final play of the match Mat Rogers somehow pushed the much larger Cory Paterson back over the goal line to ensure the Titans remained firmly entrenched in the top eight.
The Titans will come out of the match with injury worries, Preston Campbell treating his knee gingerly. More significantly however is the loss of Anthony Laffranchi for up to a month with medial ligament damage.
Next week the Titans play host to the Warriors, while the Knights host the Rabbitohs.
Match Details Round 15 - Full Time :: June 23rd, 2007 07:30 PM Venue: Gold Coast Stadium Crowd: 15,306 Referee: Ben Cummins Half time: Titans 10-6
Gold Coast Titans 28 Tries: Matt Petersen (3), Brett Delaney, Mat Rogers Goals: Mat Rogers (4/5) Newcastle Knights 22 Tries: Luke Walsh, Daniel Tolar, Adam MacDougall, James McManus Goals: Kurt Gidley (3/4)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Mat Rogers (Titans) 2 Points: Luke Bailey (Titans) 1 Point: Danny Buderus (Knights)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good evening from Carrara Stadium, where tonight the Gold Coast Titans host the Newcastle Knights in an important clash for both sides, with both sides on 16 competition points and looking to cement their place in the top eight.
The teams taking to the field now, in the rain.
1 min: Underway on the Coast and the Knights drop the ball 40 metres out from their own line.
2 min: The Titans get a penalty and go on attack from 20 out.
3 min: The Titans now pick up a drop out.
4 min: VIDEO REF - For a Titans try...
4 min: TRY Gold Coast Titans Josh Lewis puts in a grubber that is picked up by Rogers who passes to Petersen who crosses out wide and brings the ball closer to the posts. Conversion attempt by Mat Rogers successful. Gold Coast Titans 6-0
7 min: TRY Newcastle Knights Preston Campbell returns a long kick, the ball appears to be stripped off him and Luke Walsh picks the ball up and has no trouble running 20 metres unopposed to score. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful. 6 all
9 min: INJURY - Preston Campbell appeared to have picked up an injury taking the last run, but he is still on the park.
10 min: Jarrod Mullen attempts a 40/20 but the ball goes out on the full by about a foot.
11 min: Gidley just prevents another Titans try off a Campbell kick, and the Titans get another drop out.
12 min: The Titans again pick up a drop out off a Prince grubber. Apart from the one lucky Knights try thus far it is one way traffic on the park.
13 min: The Titans get a scrum feed 10 out after the Knights play at a pass.
14 min: An attempted intercept gives the Titans another six tackles. 59-21 the tackle count.
14 min: TRY Gold Coast Titans The Knights can't hold out forever, the ball goes wide to Delaney who scores in the tackle of Gidley. Conversion attempt by Mat Rogers unsuccessful. Gold Coast Titans 10-6
17 min: The Titans get another penalty on the first set off the restart for a Steve Simpson high tackle.
18 min: Laffranchi loses the ball and the Knights finally get a chance to relieve the pressure.
18 min: The Knights throw a forward pass. 2/5 completions for them, the Titans are 10/12.
20 min: The Titans make a break via Preston Campbell, another Prince grubber is taken out of the in goal brilliantly by MacDougall.
23 min: The Titans defend well and put the Knights over the sideline just out from the goal line.
24 min: Lewis chips over the top, recovers it and after several offloads Mitchell Sargent makes a try saving tackle metres out from the goal line.
27 min: Campbell puts the ball down backing up a semi-break.
28 min: INJURY - Anthony Laffranchi struggling with a knee problem. The Knights fail to complete another set.
32 min: The Knights sitting on 5/13 completions. It also looks as though Laffranchi is done for tonight.
36 min: The Titans still lead 10-6 despite having a superior completion rate, possession statistics and territory statistics.
38 min: A Knights try scoring opportunity goes begging with an obstruction penalty.
40 min: The Titans put Gidley over the sideline and the Titans get a scrum 10 out with two seconds to go.
HALFTIME: The Titans take a slender 10-6 lead into half time.
The Knights will be very pleased to trail only by 4 after playing a dire half of football. The Titans will be concerned by losing Anthony Laffranchi for the night to a knee injury, and having failed to convert their possession into points.
Both teams returning to the field now.
40 min: Back underway at Carrara.
43 min: The Titans get a penalty and Bailey runs 25 metres from a quick tap. Titans hot on attack.
43 min: TRY Gold Coast Titans Prince shows and goes, dummies and throws a great pass to Petersen who picks up his second try out wide. Mat Rogers slots the goal from the touchline. Gold Coast Titans 16-6
46 min: INJURIES - Luke O'Dwyer in Dreamworld after getting his head in the wrong place attempting a tackle and is leaving the field. Laffranchi out, medial ligament damage.
46 min: Titans pick up another drop out.
51 min: Mat Rogers penalised for a high tackle, putting the Knights on attack
52 min: TRY Newcastle Knights Daniel Tolar runs through a hole you could steer the Pasha Bulker though and scores under the posts. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful. Gold Coast Titans 16-12
55 min: TRY Gold Coast Titans The Coast reply in stunning fashion! Campbell finds Petersen on a kick return, who spins away from 5 tacklers and breaks into space before offloading to Rogers who scores in the left corner. Rogers slots the touchline conversion again. Gold Coast Titans 22-12
62 min: 40/20 - Josh Lewis kicks a 40/20 for the Titans
62 min: Carmont plays at the ball and knocks it on, he races 70 metres before realising play has been called back.
62 min: CROWD - 15,306
63 min: The Titans knock the ball on following a poor pass from dummy half.
66 min: VIDEO REF - For an Adam MacDougall try...
66 min: TRY Newcastle Knights A cross field bomb is taken on the full by MacDougall who just has to fall over the line to score. Now Gidley nails a touchline conversion. Gold Coast Titans 22-18
69 min: The Knights drop a Titans bomb and the home side go on attack. Campbell loses the ball after a great Buderus tackle, but the Titans get the ball back off a Knights mistake.
71 min: FIGHT - Petersen crosses and gets into a fight with the Knights. VIDEO REF - For a Titans try...
71 min: TRY Gold Coast Titans Petersen gets the last laugh, scoring off a deflected Donnelly offload to claim a hat-trick and to likely seal the game. Conversion attempt by Mat Rogers successful. Gold Coast Titans 28-18
73 min: With the game seemingly wrapped up, Preston Campbell is given a rest.
76 min: VIDEO REF - For a Knights try...
76 min: TRY Newcastle Knights McManus crosses out wide to give the Knights a sniff. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley unsuccessful. Gold Coast Titans 28-22
79 min: The Knights will have to go 80 metres to attempt to tie up this game.
80 min: Right on fulltime, last tackle, Cory Paterson crosses the goal line only to be turned back by Mat Rogers in the try saving tackle of the year.
FULLTIME and the Titans have held on to defeat the Knights by six points and they move to 18 competition points.