GOLD Coast’s band of rookies gave Canberra an almighty scare before a flurry of late tries sealed a 34-28 victory for the Raiders in their NRL trial in Ipswich.
The highlight of the match was undoubtedly a 40th-minute try to fullback Shannon Walker, an excitement machine who must surely play NRL football this year.
The 2007 Queensland Cup Player of the Year found himself in space on the left flank and put a wicked step on Raiders fullback Bronx Goodwin before sprinting to plant the ball under the posts.
Walker, 18, was safe under the high ball and showed blistering pace whenever he carted back the ball.
Titans coach John Cartwright would be delighted with the effort from his youngsters, drawn from the state competition, considering centre Kingi Aka-Oula was sent off early in the match for a high shot on Michael Brophy.
Playing against a team boasting nine regular first-graders, the Titans were level at 18-all at the three-quarter time break.
But the Raiders ran in three quick tries to blow out the scoreline to 34-18.
Joel Rapana, who scored a 90-metre try to opening the scoring, bagged his second to reduce the Titans’ deficit to 34-22.
Kayne Lawton added even more respectability to the scoreline with a try just before the final siren.
Canberra coach Neil Henry said Brophy had suffered concussion and would need to undergo scans for a suspected fractured eye socket.
Halfback Michael Dobson (hip flexor) failed to finish the match while Queensland State of Origin back-rower Neville Costigan was a late withdrawal after straining a quad muscle at training yesterday.
Titans winger Esi Tonga (foot), the brother of Bulldogs star Willie Tonga, was the only injury concern for the Gold Coast.
â€œI thought the Titans were good considering it was a fairly young side,â€ said Henry. â€œIt just shows the depth they’ve got.
â€œWe didn’t really mount any serious pressure on them but credit to the Titans, I thought they played well. It was a good hit-out all round.â€