A fast-starting Warriors couldn't hold on in a low-scoring clash with the Titans at Cbus Super Stadium tonight, the home side finishing 16-12 winners.
The Warriors exploded out of the blocks, scoring two tries in the opening 8 minutes of the game, racing out to a big lead early in what looked ominous for the Titans. But poor execution from both sides saw the game hanging in the balance at halftime. A second half rally by the Titans saw them secure the victory in the dying stages of the match.
In just the fourth minute of the game, the Warriors got themselves on the scoreboard when Blake Green passed right to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck off the back of the scrum, the Warriors fullback drifted right, holding the ball in front of him, put on a burst of speed to get around Beau Fermor and then sliced through the edge defence to score in the right corner. Chanel Harris-Tavita's sideline conversion was an absolute peach.
Just four minutes later, the Warriors capitalised on another Titans error, thanks to some scintillating ball movement on the left side, with the final pass from Peta Hiku, who was held in a two-man tackle, was juggled by Ken Maumalo, who gained possession and then touched down in the left corner. Harris-Tavita again hit his sideline conversion sweetly. Warriors had a 12-0 lead after 8 minutes.
The Titans got on the board ten minutes later after a bomb was dropped by David Fusitua. From the scrum the ball went to Corey Thompson, who produced a lovely draw and pass to create an overlap and Anthony Don forced his way over in the right corner. Ashley Taylor's sideline conversion was brilliant.
Five minutes later it looked like the Titans may have scored their second try when Fermor got across the line, but he was held up in a brilliant tackle by Tuivasa-Sheck.
Wayde Egan almost scored the Warriors third just two minutes later when he darted over from dummy half on the last tackle, but he too was held up.
In the 30th minute the Warriors again tried to score from back-to-back dummy half scoots, first from Egan and then from Jazz Tevaga, however both were countered by the solid Titans goal-line defence.
In the next set, deep in their own half, the Titans threw a silly offload, which no one was expecting. Jamal Fogarty ran back to clean up the loose ball, but failed to regather as he was tackled by Jack Hetherington. Hetherington then followed through and grounded the ball, but the try was disallowed as he was ruled to obstructed Fogarty.
The second half started steadily, before the Titans crossed for a spectacular try in the 48th minute. Taylor grubbered into the Warriors in-goal when Tyrone Peachey raced through, regathered and flicked the ball backwards before going dead-in-goal and Sam Stone planted the loose ball for a try. Taylor's kick to level the scores went wide.
A sloppy 25 minutes ensued before a frantic final 5 minutes of the match.
In the 75th minute Fogarty grubbered into the Warriors in-goal. Blake Green tried to bat it dead, but didn't hit it hard enough. Fermor followed through and got the ball down just in time to score a great try. Fogarty then added the extras to give the Titans a 4 point lead with 4 minutes remaining.
A frantic final minute saw the Warriors find touch from a drop out, 10m from their own line, but were unable to travel the 90 metres to score again, the Titans hanging on for a rare win over the Warriors.