Titans cut loose to down Tigers
A 30-point flurry in the space of 25 minutes has propelled the Gold Coast Titans back into the top eight with a 30-18 win over the Wests Tigers at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday night.
Their fifth win at home in succession, the Titans could barely have had a worse start as the confident Tigers jumped out to a 10-lead after 17 minutes courtesy of two Kevin Naiqama tries but the visitors were unable to land any more punches.
A Daniel Mortimer try just before half-time gave the home side something to work with heading into the second half and once they posted a second try the Tigers had no answers to their momentum, jumping into sixth spot on the ladder.
Josh Hoffman (44th minute), Ryan James (52nd), Ashley Taylor (57th) and Nene Macdonald (60th) all scored in quick succession and with Taylor's perfect night with the boot the home crowd of 9,975 were roaring with delight.
Naiqama – who was forced from the field late with a shoulder injury – scored a third try and former Titan Jordan Rankin crossed in the left-hand corner with the final play of the game but the damage had been well and truly done for a Tigers team that would have gone top of the table with a win.
After being on the back foot for much of the first half courtesy of seven errors and 20 missed tackles the Titans somehow forced their way into the lead six minutes into the second half having trailed 10-6 at half-time.
The Titans were defending their own line when the ball came free from a Tigers shift to the left and a quick clean-up from Tyrone Roberts sent David Mead on a 60-metre run down into Tigers territory. From the next play Roberts and Ashley Taylor got the ball wide to an unmarked Josh Hoffman for his second try in consecutive weeks.
The Titans extended their run of unanswered points to 18 when Ryan James forced his way over from a crash-ball to the right of the posts, Taylor's successful conversion putting an eight-point gap between the teams.
Where the Titans managed to quell the Tigers' momentum in the first half the visitors had no answer in the second half, tries to Taylor and Macdonald on the back of well-worked set pieces giving them a 30-10 buffer into the final quarter of the game.
Despite the Titans' recent impressive record at home it took just five minutes for the exhilarating Wests Tigers backline to expose Gold Coast's left edge defence, a sweeping movement that the Titans would have studied endlessly leaving Josh Hoffman in the lurch as Naiqama sliced through for his second try of the season.
Given their early success the Tigers went back to their right side in the 17th minute and again came up trumps, the Tigers conjuring a mini-miracle for Naiqama after Titans fullback David Mead let a Mitchell Moses bomb bounce with disastrous consequences.
The Titans worked their way back into the game and with a run of possession finally going their way clawed their way back when Mortimer burrowed over from close range just before the break, Taylor's conversion reducing the Tigers' lead to just four points at the break.
Gold Coast Titans 30 (Daniel Mortimer, Josh Hoffman, Ashley Taylor, Ryan James, Nene Macdonald tries; Ashley Taylor 5 goals) defeated Wests Tigers 18 (Kevin Naiqama 3, Jordan Rankin tries; Mitchell Moses 1 goal). Half-time: Tigers 10-6. Crowd: 9,975. On report: Chris Lawrence (Wests Tigers). Holden Cup: Titans 30 defeated Wests Tigers 18.