The Titans have continued their hot 2008 season form with a close 24-20 NRL win over the Bulldogs at Skilled Park. Led strongly by Scott Prince and welcoming back veteran Luke Bailey – the Titans continue to look the goods as they firm in premiership betting every week.
The Titans maintained their unbeaten home record and posted their first win over the Bulldogs in 16 meetings since a Gold Coast side entered the top level in 1988.
Prince, who was shattered when overlooked for Queensland in the Origin opener next Wednesday, served up two magnificent tries to winger Smith Samau and prop Brad Myers in the opening 15 minutes.
“Princey did tonight what he’s been doing all year and definitely if he was not there tonight, we don’t win the game,” Cartwright, who said his skipper played under incredible pressure with all the talk about state selection, explained.
“He didn’t ask for any of it and didn’t want any of it.
“People sometimes think they’re doing you favours … but there was an enormous amount of pressure on him tonight from that call that he should have been in the Origin.
“We all think he should have been in the Origin.
“The fact it was constantly brought up, brought up, brought up, and the eyes of the world were watching him was a hell of a lot of pressure to put on him and he responded great.”
Prince admitted the first few days after his rejection were tough to handle.
“But that’s the beauty of rugby league, you’ve got a game at the end of the week you can look forward to and I’m just happy we came away with the two points,” he said.
After being up 16-0 early the Titans lead was chopped back to 16-10 at half time through tries to winger Matt Utai and centre Cameron Phelps just before the break.
Titans lock Daniel Con injured his shoulder making a game-saving tackle on Bulldogs replacement Michael Sullivan in the dying seconds only to have referee Jason Robinson rule a forward pass.
Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes felt his side was a shade unlucky not to pull of another amazing comeback.
“Anything would be better than last week,” said Folkes referring to the Bulldogs’ 30-4 loss to Penrith.
“We’re a bit down on ourselves at the moment. We need to pick our heads up and be a bit more positive and with that will come a bit of confidence.
“That performance tonight will give us some confidence.”
Titans prop Luke Bailey played more than 70 minutes in his first game back from seven weeks on injury, earning high praise from Cartwright for returning to the field in the closing minutes when things were getting tense.
“He came off because he could hardly take another step but I felt it was important to have his experience out there for the those closing minutes.
“He was still chasing kicks and doing incredible things at the end.”