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The New Zealand Warriors have replaced the Wests Tigers in the top eight after defeating a depleted Gold Coast Titans' side 32-14 in front of 17,134 fans at Skilled Park.
The bad news started before the match for the Titans, with it being announced their Origin stars in Myles and Bird would not be backing up, while captain Luke Bailey would also be missing.
Things went from bad to worse for the home side as the game got underway, with the Warriors scoring off their first set. Rookie Konrad Hurrell scored the opening try in only the second minute of action. James Maloney failed to convert.
A swing of possession saw the Titans hit back in 12th minute when Beau Champion scored off a quality cutout pass from Aidan Sezer. Scott Prince failed to convert leaving the scores locked up.
The Titans were over only four minutes later through Kevin Gordon who scored on the back of a Kevin Locke error. Prince added the extras to put his side six-points in front.
Back-to-back penalties saw the Titans right on the attack again in the 22nd minute and another excellent pass from Sezer put David Mead into space on the outside before the winger scored in the corner. Prince failed to convert from the touchline.
After receiving their first penalty of the night in the 30th minute, the Warriors found themselves on the attack and as he often does- Shaun Johnson made fools of would be defenders, throwing a dummy before the line before strolling over to score untouched. Maloney added the extras to reduce the Titans' lead to four.
Hurrell claimed his double four minutes short of half-time, taking three defenders with him as he scored. Maloney added the extras to give his side the lead. He had his hat-trick in the 46th minute, scoring courtesy of a brilliant pass from Maloney. Maloney failed to convert from the touchline.
The Warriors slowly wore down their opposition as the match progressed, scoring through Ben Matulino in the 61st minute before finally sinking the nail in the Titans' coffin in the 78th minute through a Locke try, finishing in front 32-14.
Tonight's victory sees the Warriors straight into the top eight, and they will travel to Suncorp Stadium next weekend to take on an out-of-form Broncos' outfit.
As for the Titans, tonight's loss sees them fall out of touch with the top half of the competition. Their Origin stars should return next week along with veteran front rower Luke Bailey. They travel to Canberra where they will take on a Raiders' side looking for their third win in a row.
Gold Coast Titans 14 were defeated by New Zealand Warriors 32
National Rugby League - Round 18 - Saturday July 7, 2012 7:30pm
Venue: Skilled Park
Referee: Matt Cecchin and Phil Haines
Video Referee: Rod Lawrence
Touch Judges: Paul Holland and Michael Wise
Halftime: Gold Coast Titans 14 New Zealand Warriors 16
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - James Maloney (3 Conversions)
2 Points - Konrad Hurrell (3 Tries)
1 Point - Jacob Lillyman
Gold Coast Titans (14)
Tries: Beau Champion, Kevin Gordon, David Mead
Conversions: Scott Prince (1/3)
New Zealand Warriors (32)
Tries: Ben Matulino, Kevin Locke, Shaun Johnson, Konrad Hurrell (3)
Field Goals: James Maloney (0/1), Shaun Johnson (0/1)
Conversions: James Maloney (4/6)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Big changes coming into this one for the Titans, as a result of Origin they'll be missing Nate Myles and Greg Bird, while Luke Bailey will also miss out through injury. Matt White replaces the captain in the front row, while Henderson and Ridge will start in the back row in place of the club's Origin duo. Ryan James and Dominique Peyroux are the new faces on the bench. For the Warriors, they're 1-17 with no changes to the side named Tuesday.
1 min: James Maloney gets us under way at Skilled Park, the Titans will get first use of the ball.
4 min: TRY
TRY! James Maloney finds some space 40 metres out from the Titans' line and streaks away, he finds a rampaging Konrad Hurrell ten metres out and the young centre scores his 10th try of the season. Maloney fails to convert the opening try.
New Zealand Warriors 4-0
8 min: William Zillman makes a break of a clever inside ball and is brought down just short of halfway. The Titans make a bust down the short side through Beau Champion and David Mead in the following play before Mark Minichiello is tackled into touch only 20 metres out from the Warriors' line.
10 min: The Titans will get a chance to go on the attack after a Warriors' mistake 20 out.
10 min: Luke Douglas spills the ball on only the second tackle and the Warriors are off the hook.
11 min: The Titans receive the first penalty of the night and will start a set of six on halfway.
14 min: TRY
TRY! The Titans hit back through Champion who scores in the right corner courtesy of a beautiful cutout pass from Aidan Sezer. Scott Prince misses the conversion.
18 min: TRY
TRY! Kevin Locke spills the ball as Jamal Idris is charging at him on halfway, Idris grabs the ball and streaks away before offloading to Kevin Gordon 20 out out. Gordon scores. Prince adds the extras.
Gold Coast Titans 10-4
20 min: Locke loses the ball 20 out from the Titans' line after a break from Ben Matulino.
21 min: The Titans receive a penalty 10 short of halfway.
22 min: Titans receive another penalty 20 out and they opt to take the tap.
22 min: The Titans might have their third try here.
24 min: TRY
TRY! The Titans spread it out wide to David Mead who flirts with the touchline before scoring in the right corner. Prince fails to add the extras from the touchline.
Gold Coast Titans 14-4
27 min: The Warriors will get a scrum 40 metres from their own line after a mistake from Mead.
28 min: The Warriors receive their first penalty of the night and will go right on the attack.
29 min: Maloney forces a line drop out with a nice little grubber.
32 min: TRY
TRY! Shaun Johnson throws a dummy before going straight through and scoring under the posts. Maloney converts from right in front.
Gold Coast Titans 14-10
34 min: Warriors have their fourth penalty of the night on their own 30.
35 min: Warriors receive a penalty on tackle four only a few metres out.
38 min: TRY
TRY! Hurrell takes three defenders with him over the line to score. Maloney's conversion attempt from a few metres out from touch is successful.
New Zealand Warriors 16-14
40 min: Elijah Taylor drops the ball 20 out from his own line but there's not enough time to pack a scrum and that's the half. The Warriors finish the half back on top after surrendering an early lead.
41 min: Zillman gets us underway in the second half.
41 min: Nathan Friend turns the ball over on halfway.
42 min: Titans turn the ball over on tackle two and the Warriors now have an attacking opportunity with a scrum on halfway.
43 min: Johnson tries to grubber into the in goal on the last and Brenton Lawrence dives at the ball but knocks it on in the process. Warriors scrum 10 out.
45 min: Maloney grubbers into the in goal and forcing Gordon to run the ball dead. Goal line drop out.
48 min: TRY
TRY! Hurrell has a hat-trick after scoring in the corner of a beautiful pass from Maloney. Maloney fails to convert from the touchline.
New Zealand Warriors 20-14
51 min: The Warriors receive a tackle count restart, 30 out from the Titans' line.
52 min: Johsnon forces a line drop out.
53 min: Steve Rapira puts the ball down 30 out and the Warriors waste an opportunity.
56 min: Mark Minichiello knocks on, on his own 20. Hurrell is down in back play.
56 min: Tupou is tackled into touch and the Titans are off the hook.
58 min: The Titans receive a tackle count restart 10 short of halfway.
61 min: Maloney is run down 20 out on tackle one.
61 min: The Warriors might have a try here.
63 min: TRY
TRY! Ben Matulino burrows over the try line and roles over a would be tackler before grounding the ball to the left of the posts. Maloney adds the extras.
New Zealand Warriors 26-14
67 min: Possible Warriors try here.
67 min: No try! Maloney puts up a cross field kick and Johnson wins the contest he offloads to Omar Slaimankhel who is being pushed into touch when he grounds the ball on the line.
70 min: The Titans receive a penalty and should go on the attack at the end of this set.
71 min: Locke wins the contest for a Prince bomb and the Warriors are off the hook.
72 min: Dominique Peyroux loses the ball forward 40 out from the Warriors' line.
73 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Maloney attempts a field goal but it's waved away.
New Zealand Warriors 26-14
76 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Johnson attempts a field goal from 30 out and misses.
New Zealand Warriors 26-14
77 min: Matt Srama loses the ball 40 out from the Warriors' line.
80 min: TRY
TRY! Locke breaks through the Titans' line and races away to score under the posts. Maloney adds the extras.
New Zealand Warriors 32-14
80 min: The Warriors ruck the ball out of their own half as the hooter sounds. The Warriors are now in the top eight after defeating the Titans 32-14.