Titans tame Tigers in tense thriller

In front of a 26,103 strong packed house at Skilled Park, Gold Coast Titans took out a top of the table encounter with the Wests Tigers 21 points to 18, with both teams being assured home finals next weekend.

For a top of the tables last round match, the opening play looked very one sided, with Titans having all the attacking play and looking the far better team for the best part of the first half. Tigers had an error riddled start to preceedings, looking pedestrian in defence and lack lustre in their few attacking opportunities.

Titans opened the scoring in the seventh minute with a try to Ashley Harrison near the uprights, off the back of some good dummy half work from Nathan FriendScott Prince easily turned the 4 points to 6.  Just minutes later in the same spot Zillman cut through some soft Tigers defence to put on the Titans second, and with Scott Prince's boot, Titans had a twelve points to nothing lead in the eleventh minute.

The first half was turned on its head in the eighteenth minute when Scott Prince walking down the tunnel complaining of a possible broken collarbone.  Titans looked headless with the departure of Scott Prince and Tigers looked like they were starting to hit their stride, but failed to capitalise on any of their chances.

In the Twenty ninth minute, Mat Rogers seized an opportunity to extend the Titans' lead beyond 2 converted tries kicking a short range field goal to put the Titans in a commanding position.  Momentum was swaying toward the Tigers as the half was drawing to a close but they did walk into the sheds at half time without a point to their names

Tigers carried their momentum from the closing play of the first half into the opening of the second.  Playing with lots of enthusiasm, Tigers put their first points of the match on in the 45th minute with a try to Chris Heighington off the back of a team effort moving the ball from sideline to sideline to find a hole to hit for the scoring play, Marshall converted and the Tigers were on the prowl.

Only a couple of minutes later in the 47th minute, Tigers were in again, Farrah making a big bust from dummy half, ran about 40 metres to find Tiquiri and send him in to score right between the posts.  Marshall converted and there was only one point in it.  From there the game really began to heat up...

The game was a real contest from there, with both teams fighting hard, but strong defence would not let anyone in in spite of some errors and ill discipline coming from both sides.  The 53rd minute saw the Tigers come close to claiming a lead, but with a foot on the line before the ball was planted, it was an easy no try decision for video referee Steve Clark.
The next points of the match went the way of the home side in the 58th to gun winger Kevin Gordon who scored in the corner from a brilliant Scott Prince cut out pass, to put on Gold Coast's first points of the half and with a Scott Prince conversion, Titans were back to a lead of more than a converted try.

It did not take long for the Tigers to hit back, with Giant Englishman Gareth Ellis pouncing on a Nathan Friend fumbled ball in the sixty forth to score between the uprights.  Marshall converted to put the difference back to a single point.

From that point the game was really on, but conditions, errors and ill discipline played a part in proceedings, with a penalty causing the final scoring play of the match with Titans opting to take the two off a penalty in the 78th minute, giving them a 21 - 18 lead which they carried to the full time siren, getting through their final attacking set and muscling up in defending slowing the play of the Tigers to wind the game down to a Gold Coast victory.

Match Details
Gold Coast Titans 21 defeated Wests Tigers 18
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 26 - Friday September 3, 2010 7:35pm
Venue: Skilled Park
Referee: Tony Archer and Gavin Badger
Video Referee: Steve Clark
Touch Judges: Paul Holland and Adam Devcich
Crowd: 26,103
Halftime: Gold Coast Titans 13 Wests Tigers 0

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Scott Prince (3 Conversions, 1 Penalty Goal)
2 Points - Gareth Ellis (1 Try)
1 Point - Ashley Harrison (1 Try)

GOLD COAST TITANS (21)
Tries: Ashley Harrison, William Zillman, Kevin Gordon
Field Goals: Mat Rogers (1/1)
Conversions: Scott Prince (3/3)
Penalty Goals: Scott Prince (1/1)

WESTS TIGERS (18)
Tries: Chris Heighington, Gareth Ellis, Lote Tuqiri
Conversions: Benji Marshall (3/3)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good Evening and welcome to Skilled Park for the opening game of the final round of the domestic season. We have a top of the table clash here between the Gold Coast Titans and the Wests Tigers.

TEAM NEWS: For the Titans, Luke Bailey is out which causes a bit of a reshuffle, with Anthony Laffranchi moved to starting prop and Greg Bird starting in his second row position. For the Tigpies, Geof Daniela is out, Mitch Brown in the fullback hersey will be playing in the centres, and Sean Meaney in the number 18 jersey will start in the fullback position.
1 min: Tigers kick off and Titans get first use of the football.
2 min: Robbie Farrah fumbles the ball at dummy half, giving Titans a scrum on the Tigers' 30.
3 min: Mark Minichiello loses the ball on the tryline in a solid tackle from Ashfield, and Tigers get a penalty off that play to move them out of their defensive 20.
4 min: Another mistake from the Tigers with Simon Dwyer losing the ball.
5 min: Mat Rogers kicks on the first tackle off the scrumbase to flyer Kevin Gordon, who comes streaking onto it but it pops out when he gets a hand on him.
6 min: Tiquiri gets his hands on the ball to give Titans more plays to strike at the Tigers' line.
8 min: TRY
TRY to the Titans. Ashley Harrison in on the back of a beautiful dummy half piece from Nathan Friend. Conversion from Scott Prince successful.
Gold Coast Titans 6-0
10 min: Penalty to the titans who have had all the attacking play in this game thus far, another chance at the Tigers' line.
12 min: TRY
TRY number two to the Titans, this to William Zillman who cut through some soft defence to score in the same spot as Harrison minutes earlier. Conversion from Scott Prince successful.
13 min: Another penalty against the Tigers after points, Tiquiri is penalised here for a tackle on Bird.
15 min: The heavens have really opened here at Skilled Park, and Prince takes full advantage of the conditions, grubbing into the ingoal forcing Ryan to play out and a drop out for more Titans possession.
16 min: PENALTY against the Tigers for a high tackle.
18 min: Scott Prince has gone down the tunnel, he looked to be having some shoulder trouble and has been taken off the field. Could be a broken collarbone.
19 min: The Titans attack has slowed down a little with the absense of Prince.
20 min: Forward pass from the Titans, with the conditions affecting the ball play.
22 min: Another error from the Titans, Zillman losing the ball in a tackle, giving the Tigers a scrum on the Gold Coast ten metre line. A real chance for the Tigers to attack here.
23 min: The opportunity goes begging with Simon Dwyer spilling the ball a couple of metres out from the Titans tryline.
25 min: This game has really slowed down since the opening minutes. Tigers have looked quite ordinary tonight and the absense of Prince from the field has them looking headless.
27 min: Some sloppiness from both sides sees Ayshford make a huge break, but Farrah surrenders the opportunity and possession
29 min: FIELD GOAL
Mat Rogers kicks a close range field goal to put the Titans lead beyond to converted tries.
Gold Coast Titans 13-0
31 min: Titans trapped in goal and Tigers receive their first line drop out of the match. Tigers finally getting some attacking opportunities here.
34 min: More sloppiness from the Tigers, and they follow a mistake with a penalty to give Titans a real chance to attack.
35 min: Another penalty against the Tigers camping the Titans in Titans territory.
36 min: An unlucky sequence of events sees Tigers hand Titans more possession.
37 min: Great work from Garreth Ellis gets the ball off the Titans in a one man strip, finally gives Tigers some possession.
39 min: Tigers exhibiting a lot more creativity here, but still failing to penetrate.
40 min: The half time hooter blows sending both teams back into the sheds.
41 min: Second half underway, and it did not take long for the Tigers to make an error, knocking on out of dummy half.
42 min: Scott Prince is back on the field for the second half...
43 min: Great play from the Tigers, a perfectly weighted kick from Lui forces a dropout and a good attacking opportunity for the Tigers early in the second half.
46 min: TRY
Beautiful sideline to sideline play from the Tigers puts Chris Heighington in for the Tigers first. Conversion from Benji Marshall successful.
Gold Coast Titans 13-6
48 min: TRY
Farrah from dummy half busts straight through the Titans line and links with Tiquiri who scores right between the posts. Conversion from Marshall successful.
Gold Coast Titans 13-12
50 min: Tigers getting excited with the ball in hand, and now looking much better with it, but a downfield kick strays out the sideline.
51 min: Nathan Friend loses the ball for the Titans to help along the Tigers revival.
52 min: PENALTY to the Tigers to give them a set 30 metres out from the Titans line.
VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Tigers try.
53 min: NO TRY scrum to the Titans.
54 min: More intensity being shown from the Titans here who are covering a lot of territory with ball in hands.
55 min: Meaney puts down a bomb, but ruled to have knocked it on from the in goal resulting in a goal line drop out rather than a scrum 10 metres out.
56 min: Knock on by Laffranchi, a let off for the Tigers as Titans were starting to hit their stride in this half.
58 min: TRY
Kevin Gordon scores in the corner off a Scott Prince special, giving Titans their first points of the half. Scott Prince strikes it beautifully, to put the lead back to over a converted try.
Gold Coast Titans 19-12
62 min: PENALTY to the Tigers for hands on the ball.
60 min: Game setting itslf up as a real arm wrestle from here
64 min: TRY
Nathan Friend fumbles at a Tigers grubber, Garreth Ellis pounces on it and it puts it down between the posts. Conversion by Benji MArshall successfull.
Gold Coast Titans 19-18
67 min: Tigers give away a PENALTY in possession, with Tiquiri pushing over a marker after he plays the ball
69 min: Tigers knock on 30 metres from their line to invite the Titans in.
70 min: Greg Bird knocks on after a big tackle from big Englishman Garreth Ellis
73 min: This game is really starting to smell of finals footy, both teams fighting with plenty of intention here.
76 min: Beau Ryan knocks the ball into Robbie Farrah, giving Titans possession ten metres out.
78 min: PENALTY GOAL
PENALTY to the Titans right in front. They take the two and Scott Prince makes no mistake.
Gold Coast Titans 21-18
80 min: Full time finally called after a bit of biff to end the game. And Titans take the game 21 -18.

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