Titans romp home against Eels
The Titans have guaranteed their place in the top eight for a further week and officially brought Parramatta's brave season of resistance to an end with a 34-14 win at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday night.
When Nene Macdonald leapt high above the pack to claim a Tyrone Roberts bomb 14 minutes from full-time the two competition points were secured for the Titans and the realisation that the Eels' slim finals hopes were now extinguished could be immediately seen across the dejected faces of the Parramatta players.
If they hadn't been thrown enough adversity this season Parramatta were dealt a further blow prior to kick-off when captain Beau Scott was ruled out with an ankle injury and as the Titans took advantage of some fortunate bounces of the football the Eels were down 14-0 inside the first 20 minutes.
The Titans also lost their captain after little involvement when Nathan Friend was forced from the field with a low-grade hamstring strain just three minutes after coming on late in the first half, but they were good were able to kill off the Eels late in the second half in front of a crowd of 15,273 and move back into seventh position on the Telstra Premiership ladder.
After Ash Taylor extended the Titans' lead to 12 points shortly after half-time Bevan French single-handedly dragged the Eels back to within range 22 minutes from full-time with another display of his freakish try-scoring ability.
A Clint Gutherson kick into the Titans in-goal appeared destined to go dead but for the second week in succession French got in under the guard of his opposite number to steal four points with a spectacular put down inches inside the dead-ball line, his 10th try in just seven games in the top grade.
The eight-point deficit gave the Eels hope but it lasted only until Macdonald's try in the 66th minute, with the visitors conceding further tries to Chris McQueen and Ashley Taylor to go with a consolation try to halfback Jeff Robson five minutes from full-time.
Despite copping a knock to the nether regions early in proceedings it took only six minutes for Konrad Hurrell to reignite his love affair with Cbus Super Stadium, powering through four Eels defenders from a short ball to David Mead to score his sixth try from five games at the ground but his first as a Titan.
Having laid on a try for his team Mead saved them from conceding points at the other end four minutes later when his late effort jolted the ball free of the grasp of Parramatta winger Bureta Faraimo just as he was about to plant the ball in the in-goal.
The ever-dangerous double kick again delivered a result for the Titans in the 12th minute when Macdonald latched onto the rebound of a Roberts grubber on the left side of the field, pushed away from a couple of Eels and then delivered a perfect cross-field kick into the path of fellow winger Anthony Don for his eighth try of the season and an 8-0 advantage.
Executing with military precision in attack Taylor exposed Gutherson on the Titans' right side, holding a pass up perfectly to get McQueen one-on-one for the home side's third try inside the first quarter of the game.
With the power-packed duo of Kenny Edwards and Manu Ma'u on the left edge the Eels found success four minutes from half-time with a well-timed pass from Gutherson allowing Edwards to run into the space created by Hurrell shooting out of the line and slamming the ball down.
Gold Coast Titans 34 (Chris McQueen 2, Konrad Hurrell, Anthony Don, Nene Macdonald, Ashley Taylor tries; Taylor 5 goals) def. Parramatta Eels 14 (Kenny Edwards, Bevan French, Jeff Robson tries; Michael Gordon goal) at Cbus Super Stadium. Crowd: 15,273. Half-time: Titans 14-4.