By Joel Zander
The NRL’s newest franchise has taken just two rounds to open their account, with the Gold Coast Titans coming from behind to beat the Sharks 18-16 in a thriller at Carrara Stadium on Monday evening.
Down 16-6 with 30 minutes remaining, Wests Tigers recruit Scott Prince and former Shark Preston Campbell combined to steer the Titans home in their first NRL match on the Gold Coast.
Prince and five-eighth Matt Hilder put Mark Minichiello over in the 57th minute and then Prince’s short pass to Campbell saw the little full-back force his way over with six minutes remaining.
Campell made it three conversions from three to put the Titans in front and ultimately give them the win.
The Sharks had led 10-6 at half-time in “the battle of the beaches” after scoring just seconds before the break.
“I’m very happy, it was looking a bit dodgy with 20 minutes to go, they had the ascendancy and were playing well,” Titans coach John Cartwright told a press conference.
“But we really dug in well from there, we got a couple of tries when we needed them and held on well in the end.
“The tries that we scored were good understanding between guys.”
The Titans came from behind against St George Illawarra in their debut match last week only to fall short, but had no such problems this time.
“I suppose the most impressive thing from the coach’s points of view and the fans that were here was the fightback again. They fought hard and were very courageous,” Cartwright said.
Prince, who was a doubt in the lead-up because of injury, was happy to be part of the maiden win.
“The people on the Gold Coast have been waiting a long time for this, just to have the Titans back on the coast,” he said.
“I suppose now we’ve got the monkey off the back and the two points in the bag.”
Sharks coach Ricky Stuart was understandably disappointed, saying his players had dropped too much ball early in the tackle count.
“We had it there to beat them and when you let is slip, it’s disappointing,” he said.
But he said he was happy for Cartwright, who was his assistant at the Roosters.
“I’m really happy for Johnny, it’s good for rugby league that the Gold Coast are up and running,” he said.
He said he might leave a beer with Cartwright for a later date and the Titans coach said he understood.
“I’ll let him cool down, I know what he’s like after a loss,” Cartwright quipped.