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The Penrith Panthers have locked down first place on the ladder and confirmed their best ever start to a season with a tight 22-14 victory over the Titans.
The Panthers got off to a strong start and the signs were ominous for the Titans, but to their credit they fought back and showed tremendous determination defensively in the second half to keep within reach of their highly fancied opponents, but were unable to come away with the chocolates.
Penrith opened the scoring in the tenth minute thanks to a great draw and pass by Jarome Luai, which sent Josh Mansour over in the left corner for a good try. Nathan Cleary's sideline conversion was waved away.
Six minutes later the Panthers were in again, again thanks to a brilliant draw and pass play by Luai, this time sending Stephen Crichton away to score a good try. Cleary was able to convert from the easier angle this time.
Penrith looked to be in a point scoring mood and were pressing again in the 24th minute when Luai attempted to thread a gentle grubber behind the Titans defensive line. Kevin Proctor accidentally blocked the kick while attempting a tackle on Luai. Jamal Fogarty scooped up the loose ball and raced 93 metres to score a scintillating try. Ashley Taylor was unable to convert from the right touchline.
In the 3oth minute Isaah Yeo received a regulation pass from dummy half. The outside defence moved up too fast. Yeo went himself and stretched out after being tackled low and dunked the ball over the line for a good solo try. Cleary converted from almost right in front.
With 2 minutes remaining til halftime, the Titans clawed back a try when Brian Kelly chased through a kick by Taylor and grounded the ball just before it went dead. Taylor converted.
Right on the stroke of halftime, the Titans crossed again when Anthony Don dived over from dummy half in the right corner. Taylor again converted to reduce the Panthers lead to just 2 points.
When both teams returned for the second half, it was raining and continued to do so for the remainder of the match.
The Titans defence in the second half was indeed impressive and managed to hold out almost everything that the Panthers threw at them
The only points of the second half came after an hour of play when a very quick catch and pass from Brent Naden got the ball onto Malakai Watene-Zelezniak who raced in for a try. Cleary converted.
Some poor options from both sides marred the second half play, but in the end Penrith did enough to get the 2 points.
Gold Coast Titans 14 - Penrith Panthers 22
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium
Halftime Score: Gold Coast Titans 14 Penrith Panthers 16
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Jarome Luai
2 points - Isaah Yeo
1 points - Jamal Fogarty
GOLD COAST TITANS (14)
Tries: Jamal Fogarty, Brian Kelly, Anthony Don
Conversions: Ashley Taylor (1/3)
PENRITH PANTHERS (22)
Tries: Josh Mansour, Stephen Crichton, Isaah Yeo, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak
Conversions: Nathan Cleary (3/4)