Titans storm home to shock the Sharks
Two tries in the final 13 minutes to bench forward Leivaha Pulu have helped the Gold Coast Titans stun the Sharks 16-12 at Southern Cross Group Stadium to earn just their second win of the Telstra Premiership season.
The Sharks never looked in control despite holding a 12-6 lead midway through the second half, and they were made to pay for their lack of execution with the visitors laying on back-to-back tries to snap Cronulla's four-game winning streak.
Down by six, the Titans refused to give up and were soon on the attack courtesy of a big break by Konrad Hurrell, whose charge paved the way for Pulu to wrestle his way over courtesy of a shortside raid by Jarryd Hayne.
However, Ash Taylor was unable to nail the tricky conversion, leaving his side trailing by two points entering the final 10 minutes of the game.
Showing the sort of fight that has earned them the admiration of the rugby league world, the Titans silenced the Cronulla faithful with four minutes remaining when Chad Townsend failed to control a grubber, allowing Joe Greenwood to scoop up the loose ball and offload to Pulu who crashed over for the winner.
It was a barely recognisable Titans side to the one that was named on Tuesday with Jarryd Hayne starting at fullback, Kevin Proctor in the back row, Konrad Hurrell at centre, Dan Sarginson on the wing, and Tyrone Roberts at five-eighth in place of Kane Elgey who was rested.
Gold Coast's mass changes paid dividends just six minutes into the contest when Roberts sliced straight through courtesy of a show-and-go to give his side a thoroughly-deserved 6-0 lead.
That's how the score remained for nearly 20 minutes until the Sharks capitalised on a gigantic momentum shift to turn their hefty weight of possession into a Ricky Leutele try in the left corner.
The hosts hit the lead eight minutes out from half-time courtesy of a penalty try after the Bunker ruled that Jayson Bukuya had been denied a reasonable chance of grounding a Townsend grubber due to interference by Dale Copley.
Sarginson should have levelled things up in the final minute of the half but the Englishman inexplicably dropped a pass without a Cronulla defender near him.
The opening 20 minutes of the second stanza were a mixture of near misses and wasted opportunities, with the Sharks finally settling things down with a James Maloney penalty goal on the hour mark after an infringement in the ruck before the Titans rallied late to claim the shock win.
Titans 16 (Leivaha Pulu 2, Tyrone Roberts tries; Ash Taylor 2 goals) def. Sharks 12 (Ricky Leutele, Jayson Bukuya tries; James Maloney 2 goals) at Southern Cross Group Stadium. Half-time: 6-10. Crowd: 12,397