Broncos overpower gallant Titans

A fast-finishing Broncos side have notched their fifth victory of the season after seeing off the Titans 22-8 in a scrappy affair in front of over 31,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium.

The 14-point win sees the Broncos move temporarily inside the top-eight, while the Titans will slip outside the top-four by virtue of points difference.

Poor ball control was the catalyst for the Titans’ loss, as they only completed 61 per cent of their sets, compared with the 81 per cent that the Broncos produced.

The contest failed to reach any dizzying heights until the 30th minute when Dale Copley crossed for the opening try. It helped brighten what was an uninspiring and stop-start first half which featured 10 errors and 10 penalties.

The opening 10 minutes provided some brutal and bruising defence from both sides with the Titans enjoying the majority of possession. The visitors managed to get some reward from their early foray into Brisbane's territory with Aidan Sezer nailing a penalty goal after the Broncos were caught offside, giving the Titans a 2-0 lead.

Brisbane soon piled on their own pressure, enjoying four repeat sets attacking the Titans' line but they weren't able to penetrate a stoic Gold Coast defensive line. 

The Broncos wasted another opportunity with the ball after gaining possession from a one-on-one strip and went on the offensive again, however they couldn’t muster a killer blow in order to cross the stripe.

An Alex Glenn line-break inside the last 12 minutes of the half enabled the Broncos to go on the front foot again. After a short break in play due to a pectoral injury suffered by Sezer, Brisbane reset their attack and aimed their troops towards the right side of the field in order to target the newly-formed centre-wing partnership of Dave Taylor and Kalifa Faifai Loa, which was forced due to a game-ending concussion suffered by starting centre William Zillman in the 19th minute.

Seeing the Titans short on that side of the field, the Broncos spread the ball out wide finding Justin Hodges, who threw a lovely flat pass to Dale Copley who snuck over in the corner. Ben Hunt's conversion attempt went well wide, keeping the Broncos in front at 4-2 in the 31st minute.

The Titans struck back five minutes later after a quick exchange of passes between David Mead, Brad Takairangi and Anthony Don enabled the Titans' winger to squeeze his way over the line after Daniel Vidot came off his wing, unsuccessful in attempting to shut down the play. Beau Henry took over kicking duties and made no mistake, handing Gold Coast an 8-4 lead. 

Henry had another opportunity to add a further two points inside the last minute of the half, however his effort went across the face of goal, ensuring the scoreboard remained untouched heading into half-time.

The Broncos had a try disallowed only two minutes into the second stanza after Glenn crossed out wide. With the try referred to the video referee, the decision of no-try was determined due to Jarrod Wallace running through the Titans' defensive line in a position deemed to have caused interference. Brisbane managed to regroup but as soon as they looked like mounting another attacking raid, a knock-on by Andrew McCullough let the Titans off the hook.

A loose pass by Gold Coast in the next set helped the Broncos to back-to-back sets after Hodges toed through forcing Faifai Loa to ground the ball behind the line. Once again the fifth-tackle option by Brisbane failed to bear any fruit, causing the home crowd of over 31,000 to grow anxious.

When Luke Douglas knocked-on close to the line Brisbane mounted another attacking raid. Sniffing that the Titans were short on their left-edge, Hunt found Ben Barba who went agonisingly close to crossing the line. 

From dummy-half, Justin Hodges cleverly flicked the ball underneath his legs without looking and found Copley on the outside who had little to do other than planting the ball over the line. Corey Parker failed to add the extras from the sideline, keeping the scoreboard locked-up at 8-8 with 21 minutes to go.

Five minutes later the Broncos were finally awarded for their patience with a try to Matt Gillett after Ben Hunt rolled a grubber kick behind the Titans' line. The play leading up to the try was somewhat controversial as lead referee Ben Cummins awarded a penalty to the Broncos after deeming the Titans had stripped the ball from Dale Copley. 

The Titans frustrations at the penalty call seemed justified as it appeared the Broncos winger tried to offload the ball. However, it mattered for little as Corey Parker nailed the conversion attempt, handing his side a 14-8 lead with 15 minutes left. 

With 10 minutes remaining the Broncos were awarded a penalty within close vicinity to the uprights, allowing Parker to add another two points, taking the Broncos' lead beyond a converted try.

Another Titans mistake allowed Brisbane to wrap up the contest inside the final five minutes, after Ben Hunt poked a grubber kick in Jack Reed's direction. The England international made no mistake with grounding the ball this week after he made a meal of a similar situation against the Cowboys in the previous round. Parker added the extras to hand Brisbane a 22-8 lead after 76 minutes, and that’s where it finished, with the Broncos running out comfortable victors.

Brisbane Broncos 22 (Dale Copley 2, Matt Gillett, Jack Reed tries; Corey Parker 3 goals) def. Gold Coast Titans 8 (Anthony Don try; Beau Henry 1, Aidan Sezer 1 goal) at Suncorp Stadium. Half-time: Titans 8-4. Crowd: 31,380.