The NRL finals hopes of the Gold Coast Titans were given a massive revival last night, the new boys finally getting back into the winners circle and giving themselves a genuine shot at the Top 8 for the first time in their short history.
But things didn’t come easy, the Titans had to endure an ever improving Cowboys outfit who put on some impressive attacking movements and went close to getting the home win.
Queensland Origin playmaker Scott Prince returned from a broken arm for the Gold Coast and was magnificent after a seven-week absence, laying on two tries for NSW forward Anthony Laffranchi.
Titans coach John Cartwright praised Prince’s brave performance but said his side still had a big job ahead to make the top eight.
“We’re not getting carried away but it is a big pressure release,” Cartwright said.
“[Prince] was presented with the medical advice and knew the risks. I just can’t talk highly enough of his courage.”
Prince said his arm came through the game well, particularly after he was targeted in defence.
“It’s not too bad, I was just happy to get through the whole 80 minutes. I didn’t really sleep that much last night,” he said.
The Cowboys also received a timely boost in the form of Australian halfback Johnathan Thurston, who returned from a four-week absence after knee surgery.
The Cowboys entered the game as favourites after they snapped a 13-game losing streak with a rousing win against the Bulldogs last weekend.
And they were gifted a chance to take this game into golden point when Luke O’Dwyer was sin-binned for repeated offside infringements.
But winger Ty Williams put a foot into touch on the left sideline as he made a dash for the corner with less than two minutes left on the clock.
The Titans appeared to have the Cowboys’ measure in the second half when they streaked away from a 14-all half-time deadlock to 26-14 in the blink of an eye through tries to Preston Campbell and Esikeli Tonga.
The cellar-dwellers hit back with a 57th-minute try to Dayne Weston, but that was the final score.
GOLD COAST 26 (A Laffranchi 2 P Campbell M Rogers E Tonga tries S Prince 3 goals) bt NORTH QUEENSLAND 20 (L O’Donnell D Weston T Williams J Williams tries J Williams 2 goals) at Dairy Farmers Stadium. Referee: B Sutton. Crowd: 17,605.