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Titans overcome moth plague to upset Storm
No - you aren't seeing things - the Gold Coast Titans have overcome both the Melbourne Storm AND a moth plague at Skilled Park tonight to draw level on the ladder after five rounds, defeating the premiers 20-16.
A swarm of moths engulfed the stadium pre-game and the players were forced to play with their mouths largely shut as the Storm started strongly, Anthony Quinn bagging a first half treble to put the visiting side in front 16-4 at halftime. The Titans points came from a try to winger Joseph Tomane with the score 6-4 at the time.
As the second half commenced the chances of an improbable Titans victory grew as repeat sets and poor discipline from the Storm gave the Titans ample field position. Tries first to Ashley Harrison and then Greg Bird levelled the scores before a string of penalties for the home side led to a penalty goal kicked by Mat Rogers - and the Titans led 18-16. Good defence and some favourable decisions meant the Gold Coast held their lead and a penalty on fulltime extended the lead to four points, taking the new club to equal first on the ladder.
It doesn't get any easier for the Gold Coast unfortunately - they'll host high-flying St George Illawarra at the same venue next Friday night - the winner with the chance to take the outright competition lead until the Storm face off with Manly at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium in Monday Night Football.
Gold Coast Titans 20 defeated Melbourne Storm 16
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 5 - Friday April 9, 2010 7:35pm
Venue: Skilled Park
Referee: Ben Cummins and Jared Maxwell
Video Referee: Steve Clark
Touch Judges: Steve Carrall and Adam Devcich
Halftime: Gold Coast Titans 4 Melbourne Storm 16
GOLD COAST TITANS (20)
Tries: Greg Bird, Ashley Harrison, Joseph Tomane
Conversions: Mat Rogers (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Mat Rogers (2/2)
MELBOURNE STORM (16)
Tries: Anthony Quinn (3)
Conversions: Cameron Smith (2/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to Skilled Park for tonight's clash between Gold Coast and Melbourne. Both teams are as per program.
1 min: We have kickoff at Skilled Park.
3 min: The Storm get the first penalty of the game.
4 min: The Titans with a penalty now and they'll look to go on the attack.
8 min: An even clash so far, both sides having an equal share of possession. A couple of errors creeping in.
10 min: A couple of penalties to the Storm has them on the attack as the Titans are on the back foot...
13 min: TRY
Melbourne draw first blood with Anthony Quinn scoring out wide. Cameron Smith knocks it over for a 6-0 lead in favour of the Storm.
Melbourne Storm 6-0
19 min: Melbourne dominating possession and the scoreboard so far, Lima and Tolman leading the way up-front for the visitors.
20 min: TRY
Joseph Tomane gets the Gold Coast on the board but his try out wide means Mat Rogers struggles to convert and the Titans will trail by two as we enter the second "quarter" of the match.
Melbourne Storm 6-4
23 min: TRY
Quinn has a double! The Storm are building here, the Titans are looking tired early.
Melbourne Storm 12-4
29 min: TRY
A first half hat-trick for Anthony Quinn and the Storm are putting some daylight between themselves and the hosts. Smith misses the conversion but the Melbourne side are now twelve points in front.
Melbourne Storm 16-4
40 min: HALFTIME at Skilled Park sees the visiting Melbourne Storm well and truly on top - leading by twelve points the reigning premiers have controlled possession, completed more sets, and missed far less tackles to take a 16-4 lead at halftime. The clinical way about which the Storm have played suggests the Gold Coast have little chance of challenging the visitors, but as we know in Rugby League, especially this year - anything can happen.
41 min: Play restarts at Skilled Park for the second half.
44 min: TRY
The ball goes high from Preston Campbell and Greg Bird is under it, he flicks it out the back to Nathan Friend who gets it onto a rampaging Ash Harrison who scores in his 200th NRL match! Rogers' conversion closes the gap to six.
Melbourne Storm 16-10
50 min: The Titans are looking a much better proposition in this second half, committed kick chase and some enterprising attack starting to trouble the Storm. The visitors on the other hand are still attacking well and the Titans defence needs to aim up to avoid Melbourne getting ahead again.
55 min: Cronk kicks in-goal and Zillman is well positioned to take it but fears he'll be trapped, and flick passes in his own in-goal (don't ask why) and miracle hands from Kevin Gordon pick it up and he scoots into the field of play. Lucky break for the Coast there.
57 min: Campbell kicks it in goal and Slater is wrapped up by Greg Bird and the home side have a repeat set.
61 min: Lots of back and forward play including a feted "downtown offside" penalty against Melbourne for a fifth tackle kick. The Titans unable to convert their opportunities though, and time is ticking away.
64 min: Cummins and Maxwell have had enough and it's a penalty against Melbourne in front of their own goalposts for timewasting. Cummins tells Cameron Smith to walk away and the Titans will go for the six-pointer...
65 min: TRY
GAME ON! Mat Rogers converts the Greg Bird try which is awarded following much deliberation from the video referee Steve Clark, and it's all even at Skilled Park!
71 min: The Titans have six straight penalties giving them countless possession on the Storm line but still nothing since Greg Bird's try. One of the penalties was a rarely seen one - Melbourne's entire pack breaking from the scrum before the ball was out!
73 min: PENALTY GOAL
Finally the Titans get one in proper kicking position and Mat Rogers doesn't miss from in front... the Titans have bridged a 16-4 halftime deficit to take a two-point lead!
Gold Coast Titans 18-16
77 min: The Titans with a massive set and they run at the posts on the last through Laffranchi but there's no way through, great defence from Todd Lowrie and others denies him and Melbourne have 90 metres and less than three minutes to overcome the two-point deficit...
80 min: PENALTY GOAL
The Titans get a penalty in the final minute and the celebrations begin, Rogers kicks another penalty goal and the Storm's unbeaten run has ended!
Gold Coast Titans 20-16
80 min: FULLTIME at Skilled Park! The Titans have won and will join the Storm at the top of the table after a phenomenal comeback!