Wests Tigers had a horror opening 20 minutes against the Titans, but showed a dramatic improvement over the last hour to win well, downing the Gold Coast 30-14 in Tamworth today.
Following their slow start, the 'home' team looked to be continuing their woeful form from Monday against the Eels. Further hampering their chances, five-eighth Josh Reynolds came off the field after six minutes with a knee injury.
In the 11th minute, the Titans scored first after Tyrone Roberts put up a kick to the right wing and Anthony Don took a great catch to score. Fullback Michael Gordon converted.
Not long after and they were in again when Bryce Cartwright sent a gorgeous short ball to the lead runner Tyrone Peachey, who just strolled through a gap and scored under the sticks. Gordon again converted.
Two minutes later the Gold Coast added another two when Michael Gordon landed a penalty goal. At this stage the Titans had scored 14 points in the space of eight minutes.
Wests Tigers though kept coming, and in the 23rd minute Ryan Matterson made a great run and offload, which saw the ball eventually get to Mahe Fonua who scored on the right side. Esan Marsters added the extras.
In the 31st minute, Moses Mbye's grubber saw Michael Gordon have a rare fumble. Robert Jennings cleaned up and scored easily. Marsters again converted.
With five to go in the half, the home team took the lead after they spread their play from left to the right, where Marsters stepped inside the defence and then ran 10 metres to score a good try. He was unable to convert his own try.
Ten minutes into the second half and they looked to have scored again when replacement second rower Chris McQueen ran into space and got over the line, but he was held up. They didn't have to wait long to add to the score, though - as three minutes later Jennings dived over from dummy-half to score and Marsters landed a brilliant sideline conversion.
For the next four-pointer, Luke Brooks grubbered into the Titans' defenders feet, kicked it again by accident, then regathered and sent a long ball out to Fonua who scored his second in the right corner. Marsters failed to convert.
The Titans had plenty of repeat sets on the Tigers line but just could not turn it into points.
To cap the victory, the black, orange and white scored once more just seconds before the siren sounded, when Brooks put in a rushed grubber which Fonua planted for a clever try - and his hat trick. Marsters again failed to add the extras from out wide.
Wests Tigers will take some confidence from the win into their clash with premiers the Roosters next Saturday, while the Titans will rate their chances against an equally out-of-sorts Cowboys in Townsville next Friday evening.