The Broncos and Titans played out a thrilling 26-26 draw in Saturday night's pre-season trial after Jamayne Isaako converted a Brenko Lee try from the sideline after the fulltime siren.
The Titans looked to be running away with the game as they took a 26-8 lead midway through the second half but the Broncos fought back to score three unanswered tries and snatch a last gasp draw.
Livewire halfback Ezra Mam sparked the comeback with a 66th minute try and hooker Cory Paix crossed three minutes before fulltime.
Lee then ensured a grandstand finish when he swooped on a perfectly weighted grubber kick from fellow Broncos recruit Jordan Pereira to score with just seconds remaining on the clock.
Lee scores on the bell
Earlier, Titans winger Treymain Spry scored a double to help the home side to a commanding lead and when rookie fullback Jaylan De Groot scored in the 58th minute the game appeared to be slipping away from the Broncos.
Brisbane star Kotoni Staggs showed his class when he stood up 19-year-old Sosefo Fifita and powered through Paul Turner to score just before half time, when both sides rested many of their established stars.
Match: Titans v Broncos
Round 1 -
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
It may have been a pre-season trial but the rivalry between the Titans and the Broncos ensures that both teams wanted to win the SEQ derby. However, the main thing Brisbane coach Kevin Walters wanted from the match was to learn who will partner Adam Reynolds in the halves and he remains undecided. Titans coach Justin Holbrook was happy with the first 65 minutes but the fact the Broncos scored three late tries is a concern.
- The battle between the Titans left edge pairing of Sosefo Fifita and Treymain Spry, and Brisbane's right side combination of Kotoni Staggs and Selwyn Cobbo, was worth the price of admission alone. Spry scored a double, while Staggs and Cobbo each finished with a try.
- Broncos five-eighth Billy Walters was strong defensively and linked well with his outside backs in a solid audition to partner Adam Reynolds in the halves.
- Titans fullback Jayden Campbell was lively and combined well with halfback Toby Sexton, while Tanah Boyd appears set to wear the No.9 jersey in round 1 after a strong performance.
- Esan Marsters was dangerous every time he touched the ball and Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook will be hoping the former Kiwis centre can return to his best after an unhappy stint with the Cowboys.
- Errors proved costly for the Broncos after halftime, with the home team scoring tries after a fumble by boom playmaker Deine Mariner and a poor kick by Tyson Gamble.
- Rookie halfback Ezra Mam showed why he is considered such an exciting prospect with a second half try and some strong defence.
- Kobe Hetherington and Thomas Flegler were the pick of the Broncos forwards.
Staggs looking sharp
Play of the Game
Teenage Titans centre Sosefo Fifita took on his big name opposite Kotoni Staggs to lay on a long range try for wing partner Treymain Spry after an Esan Marsters break from dummy half. The try typified Gold Coast's willingness to counter attack after an opposition mistake and gave the Titans a 12-4 lead midway through the first half that the Broncos were unable to reel in.
Spry with a long-range effort
What They Said
“I'm really excited about this season ahead, in particular after tonight and seeing Jo Jo Fifita and Treymain Spry play as well as they did out wide and some good young forwards play as well. I think [Fifita] has played probably two games of rugby league and it is a fair assignment up against Kotoni Staggs who goes alright as a centre": Titans coach Justin Holbrook.
“It is certainly a pretty contentious position at the moment but we are very fortunate we have got some good depth in the halves so we will come up with the right person for round one. We have got one more trial to get through and then we will have some discussions with the coaching staff and a couple of the senior players": Broncos coach Kevin Walters on whether he was any wiser about who will partner Adam Reynolds at the scrum base.
Cobbo and Walters combine
The Broncos travel to Mackay to take on the Cowboys next Saturday night, while the Titans meet the Warriors at Redcliffe's Moreton Daily Stadium, where the Auckland-based team will call home until New Zealand travel restrictions are lifted.
Star recruit and new captain Adam Reynolds is likely to make his first appearance in a Broncos jersey against North Queensland ahead of the opening round clash with his former South Sydney team-mates at Suncorp Stadium on Friday, March 11.
The Titans will also be looking to develop their new halves combination of Toby Sexton and AJ Brimson, who did not play against Brisbane, before their round one trip to Parramatta on Sunday, March 13. Star forwards David Fifita and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui are also likely to play.