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Gold Coast’s rebuild under new coach Justin Holbrook showed promising early signs on Saturday night with a 28-22 victory over a disappointing Brisbane outfit at Redcliffe’s Dolphin Oval.

The Broncos raced to a 16-0 lead within 23 minutes, but the spirited Titans scored five consecutive tries in 26 minutes to wrestle back control of the game before both coaches began to rest some of their star players.

Hooker Mitch Rein looked sharp for the Titans, new recruit Sam Lisone set a strong platform with his powerful charges while the return of halfback Ashley Taylor after his interrupted 2019 season gave the Gold Coast a new focal point for their attack.

Coming off a wooden spoon in 2019, Holbrook’s first assignment is to rebuild the confidence of his men and their come-from-behind effort against the Broncos, albeit in a trial match, is just the tonic the Gold Coast need ahead of a difficult round one clash with the Raiders in Canberra.

Taylor played the full 80 minutes and looked to get involved in everything in what is perhaps the most positive sign for the Titans who missed the main star in 2019.

The Titans trailed 16-10 at half-time but two quick tries, both from close range, after the break to Rein and Jai Arrow put the Gold Coast on the path to victory.

After Dale Copley scored in the corner in the 56th minute, completing five tries in 26 minutes for the Titans, the result never looked in doubt.

It was a disappointing second half for the Broncos and leaves coach Anthony Seibold with some tough questions ahead of their round one assignment against North Queensland in Townsville.

The close range tries exposed some lazy defending by Payne Haas and David Fifita and their attack never got a chance to get going as they spent most of the second 40 minutes either coming out of their own end or defending the line.

Brisbane’s frustrations got the better of them in the 68th minute when Thomas Flegler’s dropped ball led to a push and shove with Jarrod Wallace as both teams came running together.

A late try to Herbie Farnworth reduced the deficit to one converted try with two minutes remaining, but the Titans were clearly the better team.

The Broncos second half was the complete opposite to what was an otherwise promising first half hour to the game.

Halfback Brodie Croft looked sharp as the main playmaker in attack while Haas was the dominant forward on the ground without much back-up support.

Titans hooker Mitch Rein.
Titans hooker Mitch Rein. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

Croft had his hands on the ball at every opportunity and while his kicking game lacked penetration at times it’s clear he will run the Broncos attack in 2020 with a dangerous right side featuring Tevita Pangai Jr and centre Kotoni Staggs set to see plenty of action.

It was Staggs who set up Xavier Coates for a stunning first try in the eight minute after the Titans failed to contest a midfield bomb. Staggs beat the tackle of Brian Kelly and Coates made a superb one-handed put-down in the corner.

The Broncos extended their lead in the 17th minute with a creative set play from a scrum just 10m out. With their entire team stacked to the right for the scrum in the middle of the field, two players quickly sprinted to the left confusing the defensive line.

Hooker Jake Turpin took the ball from the scrum to run left, but spun on the spot and darted over the line without being touched for a 12-0 lead.

Croft was clearly the new sheriff in town for the Broncos, running their entire attack while Anthony Milford sat back picking his moments.

Broncos centre Jack Bird heads for an HIA.
Broncos centre Jack Bird heads for an HIA. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

Milford’s moment came in the 23rd minute when he shifted to the short right side to put Thomas Flegler through a gap off a short ball for the Broncos to extend their lead to 16-0.

Titans coach Holbrook would be pleased though with how his team responded from the early deficit and there were good signs across the park.

Lisone, signed by the Titans just last week, looks a handy replacement to help fill the void left by injured front rower Ryan James.

However Lisone may face some strife with the NRL match review committee after swinging left arm caught the head of fullback Jack Bird in the 34th minute.

Bird walked off the field under the HIA rule, but Jamayne Isaako didn’t do enough in his time on the field to take his No.1 jersey for round one.