Titans stun Raiders with comeback win
The Gold Coast Titans have come from nowhere to snatch a 24-20 victory over the Canberra Raiders on Easter Saturday.
Despite being dominated by Canberra for most of the match, the Titans somehow managed to score 18 straight points in the final 15 minutes to close out the match, after displaying very little in attack for the opening 65 minutes of the match.
A silly penalty from Frank-Paul Nuuausala in the final five minutes gave the Titans a final crack at victory after the Raiders hard man ironed out Ryan James off the ball.
And the Titans took that opportunity with both hands, scoring through John Olive after the Bunker stuck with an on-field try call.
That was the third-straight Gold Coast try, after David Shillington and Zeb Taia also scored late through some soft goal-line defence from the Raiders.
The Titans finished far stronger than Canberra who appeared to take their foot off the pedal late, showing less and less aggression and intensity as the game wore on.
The display continued a run of surprisingly good form from the Gold Coast who now sit at the top of the NRL Telstra Premiership on six competition points.
Dally M Medal leader Josh Hodgson was once again outstanding for the Green Machine, brilliantly setting up two tries through crafty dummy-half play.
Jarrod Croker opened the scoring for the Raiders after Sam Williams split through the line thanks to a smart dummy. The halfback showed amazing poise to halt his run and wait for Croker to speed through in support.
And things instantly got worse for the Titans who kicked out on the full from the resulting kick-off.
They'd be immediately made to pay for that indiscretion as Elliot Whitehead dived over off a short ball from Josh Hodgson soon after.
But the Titans fought back and gained momentum, thanks to the impact of some super subs off the bench.
Their efforts would be rewarded in the 35th minute as captain Ryan James dummied his way straight through the line, exposing some slack Canberra defence.
That score had the Titans at a flattering 12-6 score line just before half-time.
But Hodgson would have one final say, cracking through the line from deep in his own territory before setting up Edrick Lee for a long-range try.
With 15 minutes remaining the Titans had to be the next to score and thanks to a former Raider they were.
David Shillington exposed another momentarily lapse in the green defensive line by powering over off a tap from 15 metres out.
Soon after Zeb Taia crashed off a superb short ball from Luke Douglas, before John Olive scored in the final two minutes to steal victory.
Gold Coast Titans 24 (James, Shillington, Taia, Olive tries; Roberts 1, Taylor 3 goals) defeated Canberra Raiders 20 (Croker, Whitehead, Lee tries; Croker goals) at GIO Stadium. Crowd 11,039.