Titans surge to first win of 2015
A 77th minute James Roberts intercept try has handed the Sharks their tenth-straight home defeat, as Cronulla fell 24-22 to the Gold Coast in a tight affair at Remondis Stadium on Saturday night.
Sharks v Titans: Five key points
WATCH: Roberts' match-winner
WATCH: Titans press conference
WATCH: Sharks press conference
WATCH: Full match highlights
Match stats, scores, highlights
The Sharks were an improved outfit and looked to have given Chris Heighington a fitting celebration for his 250th NRL match with a smart, disciplined performance.
However the Titans had other ideas and managed to capitalise off a few crucial Sharks errors to earn a fortunate victory, their first of season 2015.
Two late penalty goals to Michael Gordon looked to have given the Sharks the buffer they needed for victory, however with time winding down Roberts' 60-metre intercept try broke the hearts of the Sharks faithful.
The match saw the debut of two promising young prospects in Jack Bird and Kane Elgey.
Bird, who recently turned 19, was especially impressive in his maiden NRL appearance, making an impression with his first touch of the ball as he emphatically threw Elgey away with a powerful fend.
He looked threatening throughout the match, making no thought of self-preservation with some fearless runs into the defensive line.
The halves pairing of Graham and Robson for the Sharks brought some much-needed composure to the Cronulla attack in their first time starting as halves since 2013.
Dave Taylor opened the scoring for the Titans after Matt Prior had the ball stripped from his grasp near his own try-line by James Roberts. Taylor received the ball and found space to cross with Heighington – who was in the process of making his way off the ground – not ready to stop the big man from going over.
The Sharks were looking disjointed in attack when they managed to hit back in the 27th minute, scoring off a tremendous stroke of luck. Gerard Beale's kick deflected off Josh Hoffman and into the hands of Valentine Holmes who had space around the outside of Anthony Don to place the ball in the corner.
David Fifita sparked the Sharks' next try soon after with an energetic 20-metre run coming out of his own end. The impressive surge had the Titans defence backpedalling and a couple of plays later Gordon split the defence with a well-worked play around the ruck area. Gallen attacked the line at speed and sucked a number of defenders in before producing a deft short ball to a flying Gordon who drew the fullback before sending Ennis over.
Soon after a controversial obstruction call denied Gordon four points as he was perceived to have used Ennis as a blocker in his run to the line. That left the scores at 14-6 at half-time.
James Roberts opened the scoring early in the second for the Titans, capitalising on a lack of urgency from Michael Gordon to plant the ball down within inches of the dead ball line.
Gordon will regret not making a play at the ball, instead watching as Roberts got around him to score. Sezer's conversion brought the Titans back to within two points.
However the Sharks regained their lead after a superb chip kick from Jeff Robson flew over the head of Anthony Don and landed perfectly in the hands of a flying Valentine Holmes who planted the ball down for his second of the match.
But the Titans didn't let off and in the 59th were in again as Nate Myles drew defenders in near the try line before sending Agnatius Paasi over with a superb short ball at the line.
That score brought the game to 18-all with 20 minutes remaining before Gordon's two late penalty goals gave the Sharks what looked to be a winning advantage.
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan was left devastated by cruel end to the match, after his Sharks put in a huge effort to lead with just minutes remaining.
"That was just heartbreaking," Flanagan said.
"They worked really hard and tried really hard... the effort was outstanding but that's just not good enough in this competition, you need to play smart as well."
Meanwhile Neil Henry was in a happier mood and said the win was extremely valuable to his team after a few tumultuous weeks.
"It was a great win for the boys, we've had a couple of tight losses," Henry said.
Skipper Nate Myles agreed and said the victory will help to create more of a "winning feeling" in the team.
"Having been through some tough times like we have gone through it's good, it's a little bit of a confidence-booster."
Gold Coast Titans 24 (James Roberts 2, Dave Taylor, Agnatius Paasi tries; Aidan Sezer 4 goals) defeated Cronulla Sharks 22 (Valentine Holmes 2, Michael Ennis tries; Michael Gordon 5 goals) at Remondis Stadium. Crowd: 9,566.