Costly price for Titans' miracle win

Costly price for Titans' miracle win

Belief and the casualty ward grew in equal measures following their bizarre 38-36 win over the Storm on Saturday night and we won't know for a number of weeks which will be most important for a Titans team that has now won three games on the trot.

Struggling near the foot of the ladder through seven rounds with just the solitary win to their credit, the Titans have now knocked off the Sharks, Knights and Storm to climb to within one win of the top eight and with the sanctuary of their first bye on the other side of next Saturday's meeting with Manly.

Guilty of giving up a number of leads late in games already this season, Gold Coast found themselves trailing Melbourne by eight points with only nine minutes left to play but conjured two late miracles under enormous adversity to stun the competition leaders at Suncorp Stadium.

It took just three minutes before the Titans lost their first player for the night, lock forward Ryan Simpkins buckling to the ground in what coach Neil Henry said was a medial ligament knee injury but is more likely to be a season-ending ACL.

The selection of Dale Copley on the bench proved judicious when winger Dan Sarginson suffered a dislocated shoulder midway through the second half, becoming the fifth Titans player already this year to suffer such an injury.

Battling to hold on to their 10-point lead the Titans were reduced to 14 fit men when star centre Jarryd Hayne limped from the field with nerve issues in his left leg but the club's medical staff believe it will respond quickly and that he should be available to play Manly.

"Jarryd's is a bit unusual. It's a bit of a nerve problem in his leg," Gold Coast coach Neil Henry explained.

"His foot was a bit dead there for a bit but we don't think it was too bad.

"Hopefully that's the one there could be a recovery for but the other two you'd say are going to be out for a while."

‌The news is not so good for sidelined back-rower Chris Grevsmuhl who is also facing an early end to his 2017 season as he waits to see whether the dislocated shoulder he suffered in Round 8 will require further surgery to repair the joint fully.

Conceding 36 points and losing three players to injury would ordinarily be a disaster for most teams but it could do little to quell the excitement of their first win over Melbourne since April 6, 2014.

"I've been part of some good wins but in this current situation it's great for us," said Titans captain Ryan James.

"We've been playing some pretty good footy, we knew that we had to come up here and compete and it's one of the better wins that I've been part of.

"Definitely the best win we've had this year."

Gold Coast coach Henry is nearing 250 games in charge of NRL teams since 2007 and said the 74-point try-fest was unlike anything he had ever seen in his time coaching in the top grade.

"In the context of games, I don't think I've been part of a game like that as a head coach where the momentum swung so many times and so quickly within a game," said Henry, with the Titans twice conceding 18 points in less than 10 minutes, once in each half.

"We have had our fair run of injuries and they don't seem to be abating although we'll hopefully get a couple of guys back next week as well. 

"The boys just hung in and hung in and found a way to get that result on that kick at the back-end of the game.

"That's a great win. It's one that was badly needed and it's fantastic for the club."

"It proves that with the win against the Sharks and a win against quality opposition here we can compete.

"It's confidence for the boys and we move on to Manly next week and then a bye.

"We talked about it being a critical time for us on the back of a couple of wins. Hopefully we keep the momentum going."

Storm coach Craig Bellamy lamented what he described as the worst defensive display by a Storm in his 15 years in charge while Henry was left to concede that the winners have some work to do over the next week too in that area.

"We made some poor defensive choices and we paid the price but to the credit of the boys we hung in," he said.

"We had some good play, a couple of goal-line defensive sets where we really had to hang in there and they did and we found a way to win a game of footy.

"Normally it's Melbourne who find a way to hold on to a lead and that's what they've been so consistent at doing.

"We've lost some tight ones this year and we haven't been able to find a way to just come back and find a way to win but to the boys' credit they found a way tonight against a quality team."