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The left foot of Aidan Sezer proved to be worth its weight in gold as the Titans emerged from a scrappy encounter to account for North Queensland 13-12 at Cbus Super Stadium on Monday night.

The opening three tries of the game all came from balls left bouncing around on the ground from kicks. Sezer's repeated use of angled grubbers pounded into the in-goal finally bore fruit in the 66th minute when Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt was unable to bring it under control and Brad Tighe grabbed the try that he was denied in similar fashion in the first half.

Sezer missed the Titans' win over the Raiders in Round 3 with a quad strain in his left leg but the extra recovery time afforded by a Monday night clash enabled coach John Cartwright to bring him back into the fold a week earlier than expected and it proved crucial.

He peppered the Cowboys line with kicks in the opening half but it wasn't until the 42nd minute that it bore fruit, with a towering bomb spilled by Cowboys fullback Michael Morgan under extreme pressure from David Mead dived on by Kevin Gordon for the home side's opening points of the night.

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Amidst some mistake-riddled football that both coaches would love to see stricken from rugby league's archival footage, the Titans finally broke the 6-6 deadlock with 14 minutes to play when Tighe was the beneficiary of Feldt's error.

The Cowboys, who repeatedly allowed the Titans to make easy metres from their own end with a mixture of penalties and errors, piggy-backed Gold Coast up the field by conceding a penalty from the first tackle of the next set and at the end of it Sezer coolly potted a field goal to give his side a seven-point advantage.

In what was a fitting way to end the night, the Cowboys scored the only try not from a kick after the siren when Matt Scott bounced out of a Dave Taylor tackle to score under the posts, Thurston's conversion bringing the final margin back to one.

In something of a bizarre opening 40 minutes where the appearance of a snake in the southern corner of the eastern stand created as much commotion among fans on the ground as it did throughout social media – follow @Cbussnake on Twitter for accounts of his evening – a try and conversion to Johnathan Thurston were the only points.

A Robert Lui bomb in the seventh minute brought Titans fullback David Mead out off his own line but before he could wrap his hands around the Steeden Brent Tate came flying through and batted the ball back for Thurston to regather, step around Gordon and score to the right of the posts.

With the four points for the try Thurston created another piece of history in his rugby league career, passing Steve Rogers on the all-time leading pointscorers list into 18th with 1382 points and drawing within 10 of Steve Gearin.

Although they spent the majority of the half rucking the ball out from their own end, the Titans weren't without their chances to hit back.

Anthony Don crossed in the right-hand corner after some slick hands by Mead and Brad Takairangi but was denied the four points by the video referees due to an obstruction ruled on Dave Taylor when he crashed into Thurston in the defensive line.

Paul Carter was held up over the line after a customary charge from dummy-half while Tighe was unable to find the ground quick enough when he charged through on a Sezer grubber kick that ran dead in-goal.

Although none of the incidents were put on report, Nate Myles (lifting), Carter (lifting) and Ashley Harrison (shoulder charge) were each penalised for incidents in the first half that may come under closer scrutiny from the match review committee.

Gold Coast Titans 13 (Kevin Gordon, Brad Tighe tries; Greg Bird, Aidan Sezer goals, Sezer field goal) defeated North Queensland Cowboys 12 (Johnathan Thurston, Matthew Scott tries; Thurston 2 goals). Half-time: Cowboys 6-0. Crowd: 9482.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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