Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs produced a stirring comeback to win 20-18 over the Gold Coast Titans in front of 10,815 fans at Stadium Australia on Sunday afternoon.
It was a game which showed off the best and the worst of both teams. Titans led 14-0 before they fell asleep and Matt Burton inspired the Bulldogs comeback which lifts them off the bottom of the NRL ladder.
Both these teams come off last start losses and aimed to get back on the right track on a windy afternoon in Sydney.
The Titans rolled forward with ease and struck first. Origin hopeful, David Fifita, scooped up the ball on last and rolled through several defenders to slam the ball down to make it 6-0.
It was all Titans in the first half, they dominated the penalty count and had a pair of chances to extend the lead to eight. Tanah Boyd in his fifith NRL game, slotted the penalty goal.
Reed Mahoney had a horror minute in trying to the lift Bulldogs. He was put on report for a hip drop on Mo Fotuaika then was bumper-barred by Tino Fa'asuamaleaui which saw him go off for a HIA.
Titans extended their advantage again through one of their star forwards. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui engaged five defenders then flicked it out to Joe Stimson who had the easiest putdown to make it 14-0 going into half-time.
Bulldogs needed a quick start and got it through Matt Burton. He swirled a bomb high in the air and it left the Titans dazed which allowed Jake Averillo to take the ball and get the hosts on the board.
That brought the Bulldogs to life. Burton sliced through, had a plethora of options, got it to Hayze Perham who found the speedster Josh Addo-Carr to score and celebrate in trademark style at 14-10.
They used that quick double salvo to get back into the contest. Bulldogs had a few sets on the Titans line but the closest they went was a Paul Alamoti effort which was brought back for several obstructions.
The visitors struck back in quick style. They drove Alamoti in-goal for a repeat set then it was a simple set piece on the left started by David Fifita which ended in Phillip Sami diving over.
It was the Burton boot which got the Bulldogs back within a score. He put it high again, the Titans whiffed, Jacob Kiraz let it go and it bounced right back to him to make it 18-14.
Bulldogs completed the comeback in style. They got a repeat set from an error then switched it wide before Jayden Okunbor straightened up and sent the 10,815 fans in attendance wild as the Bulldogs snatched the win.
Titans once again fade away in the second half and cost themselves with poor execution on catching high kicks alongside ill discipline from their star players with ill-timed penalties which got the Bulldogs back in the game.