One of the most entertaining games of the 2021 NRL season has seen the Sydney Roosters triumph 35-34 over the Gold Coast Titans, courtesy of a late Sam Walker field goal at Cbus Super Stadium.
A solid start for the Titans wasn't enough as they failed to trouble the scorers in spite of a glut of early possession. After 14 minutes the Roosters made them pay - scoring through Matt Ikuvalu on the right flank in their first attacking foray into the Gold Coast's red zone.
Back-to-back tries for Angus Crichton and Daniel Tupou just after the 20-minute mark suddenly saw the Tricolours out by 18-0, with Adam Keighran's perfect goalkicking maximising the advantage for the away team.
Gold Coast wrestled back territorial and possession advantage for the remainder of the half, but wouldn't actually convert it into points until right on halftime, with Jamal Fogarty taking advantage of an overlap from a scrum play to get the home team on the board.
The second half saw the Roosters put the foot down once more, with Walker and Joey Manu scoring two superb tries to send the small contigent of away fans into raptures, and the visitors led 30-4 with half an hour to.
Then... the game turned on its head. Fogarty picked up his second try not long after the Roosters' last four-pointer and with the 30-10 scoreline, the Titans got a leg up when minutes later Ben Marschke was sin binned for ten minutes after high contact was picked up.The following seven minutes saw the Gold Coast pick up THREE tries, first through Tyrone Peachey and then Brian Kelly, before a rampaging Tino Fa'asuamaleaui closed the gap to just two by steaming over beside the posts. After his first conversion of the day missed just before halftime, Fogarty's second half goalkicking was flawless and the margin had shrunk from 20 to just 2 in a short space of time.
Cbus Super Stadium then erupted with 8 minutes remaining when Kevin Proctor pounced on a Fogarty grubber to secure the lead for the home team.
The Roosters then got Marschke back from his ten minute sabbatical and set about righting the ship. WIth four left, Matt Ikuvalu took advantage of tired edge defence to score an acrobatic try in the corner to level the scores at 34-34. Walker took over kicking duties from Keighran and missed - but made up for it with a minute remaining, kicking the match-winning field goal in a memorable contest.
Gold Coast now lick their wounds and wait for Manly to visit next Sunday, while the Roosters have a huge clash with currently-first-placed Penrith at the foot of the mountains on Friday.