The Gold Coast Titans have stunned a Maloney-less Cronulla side at Cbus Super Stadium tonight, coming away 30-10 winners on a night where it looked more likely water polo would be played than rugby league.
Both sides were greeted with torrential rain from the outset at the Robina venue, with plenty of the wet stuff falling throughout the majority of the contest. Cronulla were disadvantaged by the omission of NSW half James Maloney pre-game, while both Luke Lewis and Origin prop Andrew Fifita were listed to start from the bench.
The net result for the Titans was positive - they crossed after just ten minutes through rampaging centre Konrad Hurrell. Keen to continue their good form, they doubled their advantage five minutes before halftime when Ashley Taylor scored straight off a scrum near the Cronulla line to take his side to 8-0 in front. The Sharks had been denied on a couple of occasions and failed to capitalis, and so went in eight down at the change of ends.
Poetically, the flood gates opened for the Titans in the second forty. Taylor grabbed his second just minutes after the resumption, then Kevin Proctor continued the rout at the fifty minute mark. Dominating possession and field position, the Gold Coast were making the premiers look fairly ordinary, even in spite of the atrocious conditions.
At the hour mark things went from bad to worse with Joe Greenwood grabbing the Titans' fifth, followed soon after by Pat Politoni and their sixth. Down 30-0 it was on the Sharks to save some face - and thankfully for the Cronulla faithful they did just that with makeshift centre Kurt Capewell and winger Sosaia Feki both grabbing consolation efforts inside the final ten minutes.
All told it was a remarkable performance from a Titans side that has struggled for form most of the season - and gives them a slim (very slim) chance of making a late charge at a top eight berth. Those hopes go on the line again next week when they head to Pepper Stadium for a Saturday afternoon date with the Panthers, while the Sharks will regroup before they host South Sydney next Friday night in the Shire.