Tenacious Titans hold out bumbling Bulldogs

It was a Bulldogs home game at Suncorp Stadium tonight but the Titans withstood the loss of four stars to overcome a terrible Canterbury outfit by 25-24 in front of 42,233, in the second match of a double header.

The Titans took the lead early with two tries and the alarm bells rang for Canterbury, both Kevin Gordon and Mark Minichiello making easy meat of the Bulldogs poor defence to create a 10-0 lead. Josh Morris stemmed the tide soon after to reduce the gap to 10-6 but a William Zillman try and Mat Rogers penalty saw the Titans take a convincing 18-6 lead to the break. The news on the sidelines wasn't so good for the Titans however, with Scott Prince and Matt White both being forced off with injury.

The second half started with terrible defence by Canterbury, and Titans backrower Anthony Laffranchi took advantage to score his sides last try of the night and take them to a 24-6 lead. The game mellowed out for a period of time and it seemed unlikely the result would be challenged until the injection of Bulldogs livewire Ben Barba saw tries to both himself and Jamal Idris close the gap to six points.

Their lead under the threat, the weary Titans steadied the ship. Having also lost Luke O'Dwyer to a hamstring injury and their bench down to one, Greg Bird took advantage of Mat Rogers not attempting a field goal on the play previous and potted a one pointer to put the result seemingly beyond doubt. A superb late try to Ben Barba gave the Bulldogs hope, but despite a messy yet exciting final play of the game, the "home" side simply couldn't get the last points to clinch the win.

The loss puts Canterbury-Bankstown in a terrible position going into the 16th round of the competition but the addition of Barba into the game no doubt has Bulldogs fans wondering if all is lost just yet. They'll face a tough assignment in Canberra on Monday week, while the Titans head back to their Skilled Park fortress to take on Newcastle next Sunday.

Match Details
Canterbury Bulldogs 24 were defeated by Gold Coast Titans 25
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 15 - Friday June 18, 2010 8:45pm
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Referee: Tony De Las Heras and Steve Lyons
Video Referee: Tim Mander
Touch Judges: Steve Chiddy and Gerard Sutton
Crowd: 42,233
Halftime: Canterbury Bulldogs 6 Gold Coast Titans 18

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Greg Bird (1 Field Goal)
2 Points - Ben Barba (2 Tries)
1 Point - Mark Minichiello (1 Try)

Canterbury Bulldogs (24)
Tries: Ben Barba (2), Jamal Idris, Josh Morris
Conversions: Bryson Goodwin (4/4)

Gold Coast Titans (25)
Tries: Anthony Laffranchi, Mark Minichiello, William Zillman, Kevin Gordon
Field Goals: Greg Bird (1/1)
Conversions: Mat Rogers (1/1), Scott Prince (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Mat Rogers (1/1)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary In the Toyota Cup tonight... well, there was no Toyota Cup. With the double header today at Suncorp the Bulldogs v Titans Under 20's clash will be played at North Sydney Oval tomorrow afternoon at 1pm, as a curtain raiser to the Bears v Bulldogs NSW Cup game.
That aside, welcome back to Suncorp Stadium where we'll take you LIVE through the hours ahead with Canterbury and the Gold Coast facing off in game two of this double header. The team changes are simple for Canterbury - Yileen Gordon is OUT and to the joy of many fans Ben Barba will come off the bench.
The Titans' changes aren't as simple. Preston Campbell, Luke Bailey and Ashley Harrison have all succumbed to injury and will take no part in tonights game. The new players are William Zillman (starting at fullback), with Luke O'Dwyer and Aaron Cannings coming onto the bench. Matt White and Bodene Thompson will start in the forwards for Bailey and Harrison respectively. For the final lists click the "Team Lists" link above.
1 min: We're underway at Suncorp for the second game of the double header. Canterbury kickoff and we'll have the Gold Coast with first possession.
2 min: Not a very good kick from Ennis at the end of the Bulldogs' first set, the Titans will get field position off this.
4 min: Pressure applied by the Titans on their first excursion into the Bulldogs danger zone and a bomb on the last nearly is dropped by Goodwin but it's ruled to have been knocked on by David Mead. Ennis a forward pass here, a rusty start from the NSW hooker. Titans to attack again.
6 min: Canterbury are full of errors, an error just inside the Titans half sees them turn possession over. A play earlier Kevin Gordon came close to plucking out a Scott Prince kick but there was too much beef on it and the ball went dead.
8 min: VIDEO REFEREE up to check a Titans possible try. Kevin Gordon's run a long way.
9 min: TRY
TRY Gold Coast Titans
Scored by Kevin Gordon. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful.
Idris spills it as the 'Dogs attack and Kevin Gordon's got the scraps and runs away with a beautiful 80 metre try, the Titans first on the board with Prince converting.
Gold Coast Titans 6-0
12 min: TRY
TRY Gold Coast Titans
Scored by Mark Minichiello. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince unsuccessful.
The Bulldogs are picking up where they left off before the bye, disgraceful defence and Bird, Prince and Friend are all having a field day early on. Friend makes a break on the fourth and is tackled, they then spread the ball and Bird finds Minichiello who powers over near the corner. Prince misses the attempt.
Gold Coast Titans 10-0
15 min: A Titans error gives the Bulldogs the ball just inside opposition territory.
16 min: TRY
TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Scored by Josh Morris. Conversion attempt by Bryson Goodwin successful.
Josh Morris receives a wide ball from Blake Green, fends off Sam Tagataese and then Morris just pushes through defenders to score the 'Dogs first. Goodwin out wide... perfect kick.
Gold Coast Titans 10-6
21 min: TRY
TRY Gold Coast Titans
Scored by William Zillman. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful.
The Titans exploit Jamal Idris staying at marker and William Zillman finds some space before turning Luke Patten inside out and crossing in the corner. Prince converts from the sideline, extending the Titans' lead to 10.
Gold Coast Titans 16-6
23 min: Kimmorley puts up a massive bomb and Zillman gets himself in position superbly to take it. Now we have Scott Prince in the dressing room, he's off the field.
26 min: Report on Prince is back pain but nothing too major just yet, the doctor is looking at it. The 'Dogs with a break through Ryan, passes inside to Morris who is tackled 20m out. They spread the ball but Warburton is tackled and then on the fifth Kimmorley puts the ball over the touch-in-goal line. Titans 20m restart.
27 min: Good play from the 'Dogs but the errors and execution still lacking, Ryan spilling a Goodwin offload out wide near halfway. Back in the dressing room Scott Prince is removing his strapping which may indicate we won't see him again tonight.
PENALTY GOAL Gold Coast Titans
Penalty goal attempt by Mat Rogers successful.
Ryan Tandy rushes out of the line on tackle five and charges down Greg Bird but he's clearly come off the line too early. Titans penalty, Rogers takes the two and extends the lead to 12 for Gold Coast.
Gold Coast Titans 18-6
31 min: A break from Friend puts the Titans in attacking position but Rogers' final tackle grubber rolls dead. Bulldogs 20m restart.
31 min: Injury update on Scott Prince - he is OUT for the night, he's torn his hamstring.
34 min: The Bulldogs earn a penalty as the "home" side will look to narrow the gap going on the attack.
35 min: New recruit Ryan Tandy has dropped it for the Bulldogs and it's the Titans ball inside their own half.
38 min: A drop ball out wide kills a Titans attacking raid. O'Dwyer the culprit.
39 min: Blake Green kills the Bulldogs momentum with a stab kick behind the line and Zillman cleans up easily - a play later Mat Rogers spills it and it's a 'Dogs scrum 10m out from the Titans line. But Idris loses it and we should go to halftime at 18-6.
40 min: A short-side play by the Titans off the resulting scrum sees them kick it down field and despite Goodwin's best efforts Kevin Gordon almost gets to the ball. The ball is spilled and grubbered all over the ground. It's halftime, and not a moment too soon for either side.
HALFTIME at Suncorp in the second game of this double header with the Gold Coast leading 18-6. The Bulldogs have had plenty of opportunities, particularly with Scott Prince missing since the 22nd minute, but haven't converted enough into points to worry the Titans. They need an injection of attack and Ben Barba needs to offer that early in the second half or we could be in for a dour struggle with few more points scored. The game is Canterbury's to win, but the Titans could also run away if the 'Dogs aren't careful.
CROWD: 42,233 for this double header event, fantastic to see Suncorp Stadium play host to plenty of fans this week.
42 min: TRY
TRY Gold Coast Titans
Scored by Anthony Laffranchi. Conversion attempt by Mat Rogers successful.
Second half underway... atrocious defence from the Bulldogs, first Mark Minichiello and then Anthony Laffranchi just busting right up the middle and it's the latter who scores the try. Rogers converts and the game is as good as over if the 'Dogs continue that rubbish.
Gold Coast Titans 24-6
44 min: Ben Barba is finally injected into the play. Cannings drops the ball and it's the 'Dogs who'll attack inside the Gold Coast half.
48 min: A drop ball on the last from the 'Dogs gives the Titans the ball inside Canterbury territory. They could end the game here...
49 min: A nice ball for Minichiello and he's wrapped up by Kimmorley, but the pass is ruled forward and the 'Dogs get out of gaol.
51 min: Some errors creeping into the Titans' play, could give the Bulldogs a chance here as Barba looks to play a more dominant role.
52 min: Fifth tackle and the halves filter it through to the left and Josh Morris just grubbers it dead. Hopeless. And now they give away a penalty coming off the 20m restart.
56 min: Unimaginative attack from the Bulldogs, and the Titans aren't really pushing themselves either with an 18-point lead up their sleeve. Zillman muffs an attempt at a pass and it's a Bulldogs scrum in an attacking position.
58 min: VIDEO REFEREE for the Bulldogs - has Ben Barba sparked a Bulldogs comeback? Looks like it, checking onside.
59 min: TRY
TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Scored by Ben Barba. Conversion attempt by Bryson Goodwin successful.
Ben Barba follows through a Kimmorley kick to score, great speed shown there. Goodwin's conversion shrinks the margin to 12.
Gold Coast Titans 24-12
63 min: TRY
TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Scored by Jamal Idris. Conversion attempt by Bryson Goodwin successful.
Ben Barba won't be left out of this Bulldogs lineup again if tonight's performance is anything to go by! He steps through a few lazy Titans defenders and breaks away before getting it outside to Idris who rampages over and suddenly the whole complexion of this match has changed. 6 the difference with Goodwin's conversion.
Gold Coast Titans 24-18
65 min: Ennis to Kimmorley on the last and the latter knocks it on, but the Titans Nathan Friend knocks it on a few plays later and the Bulldogs will get it back. The 'Dogs are looking much hungrier and this Gold Coast side are tired and lacking direction without Prince or Campbell.
67 min: Canterbury hot on the attack, Barba looks like he's in... didn't need to pass but it goes to Andrew Ryan who spills it in front of the line.
68 min: David Mead has knocked on returning a kick off his line and Canterbury now have a scrum in front of the Titans' posts.
70 min: VIDEO REFEREE Blake Green could've claimed a try but it's surely gone dead. Bulldogs possible try... NO TRY, Blake Green has gone dead while contacting the ball, Titans 20m restart.
71 min: Bird with a huge bomb putting Goodwin under pressure but the Bulldogs winger takes it well and they will progress upfield.
72 min: Injury update: Luke O'Dwyer joins Matt White and Scott Prince with the hamstring curse, all three are gone for the Gold Coast and they have a one man bench.
72 min: Kevin Gordon with a drop ball, Canterbury scrum inside Gold Coast territory.
73 min: Gary Warburton doesn't play the ball properly and the Titans get a scrum, the 'Dogs attack is killed off.
74 min: Idris puts a huge hit on Cannings but it's a penalty - not for a high shot but offside. Titans could set up for a drop-goal here...
75 min: FIELD GOAL
FIELD GOAL Gold Coast Titans
Field goal attempt by Greg Bird successful.
Greg Bird fools the Bulldogs' defenders with Mat Rogers the usual exponent tackled on the previous play. The Titans have a 7 point lead and likely the game in their hands.
Gold Coast Titans 25-18
77 min: The two points will go to the Gold Coast, an error up the middle with a tackle left in the set from the Bulldogs will see the 'Dogs run out of time to stage a late comeback.
79 min: TRY
TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Scored by Ben Barba. Conversion attempt by Bryson Goodwin successful.
Jamal Idris on the outside and he's away down the flank! Ben Barba on the inside! TRY Bulldogs, it's not over yet! One minute to go!
Gold Coast Titans 25-24
FULLTIME and the Bulldogs have fallen agonisingly short of an unlikely victory, having trailed the entire game. Some offloading and kicking to finish the game for the 'Dogs but Aaron Cannings, somehow, found himself at the back to wrap the ball up. Game done and dusted, the Titans 25 defeating Canterbury 24.

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