A determined Gold Coast outfit upset their more fancied rivals 16-14 in an impressive all-round performance at Skilled Park in Round 3 this year.
In a desperately tight opening half, a Titans penalty goal was the only score but the home side burst out of the blocks immediately after the break as Ryan James showed tremendous strength to barge his way over for his first NRL try. Five minutes later it was 14-0 when an Albert Kelly grubber was fumbled by Jorge Taufua and David Mead was on hand to dive on the scraps.
The Sea Eagles weren’t done, though.
Taufua made amends for his earlier error when he was on the end of quick hands to post Manly’s first points. Tom Symonds then charged onto a Daly Cherry-Evans short ball to make it 14-8 and when Taufua won the race to a Steve Matai kick with eight minutes remaining, Jamie Lyon’s sideline conversion had scores level and the visitors with all the momentum.
But that all changed when a Cherry-Evans drop-out sailed over the sideline on the full, handing the Gold Coast a penalty in front which Aidan Sezer piloted home for the win.
The Titans produced 41 more hit-ups than Manly thanks to 56 per cent possession and completed 30 of 37 sets compared with just 21 of 33 by the Sea Eagles.
The Gold Coast’s big names all stood tall with Nate Myles running for 155 metres and making 38 tackles and Greg Bird and Luke Bailey making 141 and 148 metres respectively.
Steve Matai produced five tackle-breaks and a try assist to go with his 155 metres.