Titans close in on finals with Knights win
The Gold Coast Titans have taken another huge step towards their first finals campaign in six seasons following their huge 26-6 win over the Newcastle Knights on Saturday afternoon.
The Titans' 20-point win sees Gold Coast consolidate eighth position on the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder – three competition points clear of the New Zealand Warriors and Wests Tigers.
On an afternoon where the likes of Jarryd Hayne, Konrad Hurrell and David Mead were scripted to run rampant, it was instead the Titans forwards who would lift to score all four of their tries.
Five-eighth Hayne failed to finish the game when an attempted tackle on Knights prop Daniel Saifiti went completely wrong in the final 15 minutes.
Hayne was assisted from the field when his head came into contact with the hip of his fellow Fijian international.
While the Titans' amazing second half defence denied the Knights on multiple occasions, the fundamentals were key for them in the first 20 minutes where they managed three tries.
Skipper Ryan James was first over after 10 minutes when he shrugged off opposite prop Josh King to score under the sticks.
Back-rower Chris McQueen recovered from a Nathan Ross dangerous throw within 60 seconds by cruising over for the Titans' second in the 16th minute.
By half-time the Titans had 60 per cent of possession which was telling when James crashed over for his second try in the 20th minute from a run-of-the-mill hit-up.
The Knights earned some respite through Ross who not only saved a try by intercepting a Mead pass, but also ran 90 metres to score his side's first four-pointer.
A try from a quick tap by Luke Douglas in the 50th minute following a Knights penalty put the Titans on the board in the second half.
Will Pearsall's efforts to score his maiden NRL try ended with the young playmaker being assisted from the field for a concussion test midway through the second half.
Desperate defence from winger Nene Macdonald denied runaway Knight Dane Gagai three minutes later, as the Gold Coast continued to turn away Newcastle's best efforts.
The defensive steel of the Titans was on show again in the 72nd minute when they did enough to ensure Knights winger Brendan Elliot didn't ground the ball in the corner.
A penalty goal from Titans halfback Tyrone Roberts in the final four minutes put the final result in doubt.
Gold Coast Titans 26 (Ryan James 2, Chris McQueen, Luke Douglas tries; Tyrone Roberts 5 goals) defeated Newcastle Knights 6 (Nathan Ross try; Trent Hodkinson goal) at Hunter Stadium. Crowd: 10,960. Half-time: Titans 18-6.