Full Time
6:15pm Sun March 5, 2023
Round 1 - Leichhardt Oval, Lilyfield / Wanngal - Crowd: 14667

Match Overview

The Gold Coast Titans have opened their 2023 season with a win, beating a new-look but ultimately disappointing Wests Tigers 22-10 at Leichhardt.

The locals rolled down the field courtesy of a penalty and promptly forced a dropout. Tanah Boyd kicked it out on the full in attempting to go short, and the Tigers didn't turn down the 2 points on offer to get out to an early lead. 

It was immediately clear that the Tigers game-plan would be to throw the ball around and use the full width of the field. It was an effective strategy to get them down the field, but once they got there they simply didn't have the polish necessary to turn their opportunities into tries. 

The Titans didn't have much possession, but were able to score a long range try that put a stop to the Tigers momentum. Tanah Boyd put David Fifita into a hole, the big second rower linking up with Phillip Sami in support, who scored the try. 

With the Tigers' new expansive style came an increase in handling errors, and the Titans were able to make them pay in the 23rd minute. David Nofoaluma dropped it while making a run out of his own end, gifting the Gold Coast prime field position. AJ Brimson put an early grubber in, which Sami won the race to, and despite having a much lesser share of possession the Titans had a 10-point lead. 

The home crowd was growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of points scored by the Tigers, who went into the sheds with just 2 points to their name despite an influx of field position. The feelings were compounded when the Titans went upfield courtesy of a penalty to start the second half and Daine Laurie was caught ball watching on the attacking kick. Sam McIntyre, the former Tiger, picked the ball up and scored, making it 18-2 to the visitors.

The Tigers finally broke through a few minutes later, with Doueihi accelerating through half a gap and putting the ball down for a try, making it a two score game. 

There's no doubt that the Tigers were on top for much of the match, but a combination of great goal line defence from the Titans and momentum killing mistakes from Wests meant that the scoreline was what it was. In the 65th minute, the Titans dropped it out on the full once again, and another Tigers try followed. Doueihi was heavily involved, getting the try assist to Daine Laurie. Doueihi couldn't convert, meaning the deficit remained beyond a converted try. 

The crowd was energised, but it didn't last long, as AJ Brimson cut right through the defensive line off a scrum play 3 minutes later, scoring the try and shushing the Leichhardt faithful in the process. Tanah Boyd missed the conversion, leaving a faint bit of hope for the Tigers to mount an unlikely comeback. 

They weren't without their chances in the final minutes, but the Titans defence kept on turning the Tigers attack away, and 22-10 was where the scoreline remained as the full time siren sounded. 

Next week, the Tigers are back at Leichhardt to host the Knights, while the Titans are on the road against the Dragons, who are coming off a first round bye.

3. AJ Brimson

2. Phillip Sami

1. Adam Doueihi