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Titans top of the table with impressive away win
With prop forward and co-captain Luke Bailey sidelined with a broken arm, and the Gold Coast's ordinary record away from home, many pundits were predicting that Parramatta would take the honours. But the Titans forwards stepped up to the task with back rower Anthony Laffranchi leading the way.
Following a tight opening exchange, the Titans were first to score through winger Matt Petersen in the 16th minute.
Forward Aaron Cannings was next, diving over to give the visitors a 10-0 lead after 22 minutes.
The Eels struck back through Nathan Hindmarsh four minutes later, the veteran second rower crashing over to put Parramatta just four points behind.
The Titans extended their lead when Nathan Friend surged at the line five minutes before the break, the Titans hooker brushing aside some ordinary defence to put the visitors in the driver's seat.
A penalty goal to the Eels after the half time siren saw the teams head off with the Gold Coast 16-8 in front.
Following a big defensive display on their own line, the Titans went further ahead in the 52nd minute through captain Scott Prince, the half back dummying his way over the line after centre Brett Delaney made a decisive break downfield in the previous play.
But the Eels were far from done with. With the Titans giving away numerous penalties, the Eels were able to launch a comeback. Centre Joel Reddy (61st minute) and five eighth Brett Finch (67th minute) scored back-to-back tries for the home side. With still plenty of time still left on the clock, the Titans were clinging onto a 22-20 lead.
The Gold Coast however, were able to weather the storm, and have the final say on proceedings with Josh Graham crashing over three minutes before full time to put the match beyond doubt.
Parramatta Eels 20 Tries: Nathan Hindmarsh, Joel Reddy, Brett Finch Goals: Luke Burt (4/4) Gold Coast Titans 28 Tries: Matt Petersen, Aaron Cannings, Nathan Friend, Scott Prince, Josh Graham Goals: Scott Prince (4/5)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Soild turnout at Parramatta Stadium tonight. The Eels have a strong line up to take the field against The Titans who will be without prop Luke Bailey. Two very good sides, great conditions for football. Should be a cracker.
Teams coming onto the field....
The Eels to kick off... KICK OFF!
6 min: Still 0-0. End-to-end stuff with Parra having a couple of extra opportunities.
12 min: Titans with repeat sets at the Eels line... Eels defend well and regain possession.
15 min: Half back Scott Prince kicks a 40/20 for the Titans. More pressure for the Eels.
22 min: No change to the score but the Titans are making good yards around the ruck while the Eels are battling with their go forward.
26 min: Following an error from Petersen at the restart, the Eels are on the attack, and now have a repeat set when an overlap is defused by a Titans defender who knocks on. Pressure now on the Titans.
28 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Nathan Hindmarsh crashes over 15m wide of the posts. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt just shaves the upright and is successful. Gold Coast Titans 10-6
31 min: ON REPORT - Mat Rogers (Titans) on report for a dangerous lifting tackle.
32 min: Parra get another penalty right in front of the Titans goal posts after Laffranchi is penalised for a high tackle. Parra go for the try but lose the ball on the first tackle.
35 min: TRY Gold Coast Titans Hooker Nathan Friend runs hard from 10m out, brushes aside some would-be defenders, and crashes over next to the posts. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful. Gold Coast Titans 16-6
40 min: Parramatta get a penalty after the half time siren after a player is run off the ball following an up-and-under.
40 min: PENALTY GOAL Parramatta Eels. Luke Burt successful from almost in front. Gold Coast Titans 16-8
Half time: Titans 16-8 The Eels have had their chances and looked to be gaining the ascendancy at times, but the Titans have been more polished in the first half and enjoying 54% possession thanks to some solid work from the forwards. A couple of errors from the Titans have been inviting the home side back into the contest. This match is up for grabs but the Eels have the work to do.
Second half underway...
45 min: Some razzle-dazzle from sides with the play shifting from one end of the field to the other. Crowd trying to lift Parra.
47 min: HELD UP - Eels turning down another shot at goal following a penalty. They come close to scoring with five eighth Brett Finch held up. Hooker Mark Riddell also having a shot the line in the previous ruck and appears to be injured as a result. Titans ultimately defend well enough and hold the Eels out.
49 min: INJURED - Parramatta's Mark Riddell leaves the field.
52 min: TRY Gold Coast Titans Prince dummies his way through to score an easy try. Follows a huge bust downfield from centre Brett Delaney. Great work from the Titans, following plenty of pressure defending their own line - most likely the turning point of the match. Parra in all sorts of strife now. Conversion attempt by Prince successful from almost in front. Gold Coast Titans 22-8
61 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Joel Reddy scores 10m in from touch. The Eels running it on the last tackle from 20m out, plenty of hands involved. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful! Its game on! Gold Coast Titans 22-14
63 min: Titans turn it over close to their line and the Eels send it out to Eric Grothe on the wing. Titans centre Luke O