After 3 frustrating weeks, the Gold Coast Titans bounced back into the winners circle last night – over powering Manly 28-14 at Skilled Stadium Robina.
It was a night of positives for the Titans, coach John Cartwright thinks they can get even better in the weeks ahead – the return of Mat Rogers added stability, along with Luke ODwyer playing his first top flight game of the year.
Why its taken so long for ODwyer to get his 2010 shot is surprising, as the former Parramatta utility is cool under pressure and boasts plenty in defence and attack.
Buoyed by a good home crowd at Robina of over 17,000 – the Gold Coast looked focus from the outset and were always going to be tough to beat in this one.
The score probably wasn’t a good indication of this contest – with Manly getting the benefit of some questionable calls in the match. The first of their points appearing to come from a knock-on and their second try being enhanced by an 8-point try call.
But for the Titans, they looked to have unearthed some real talent in 18 year old Ryan James. The 110kg plus James was targeted by Manly’s bigmen – but the rookie gave back as good as he got and really stood beyond his years in this match.
Led by Greg Bird, it was a much more physical Titans side. They were off their line quick and putting hits on regularly to buck Manly back.
After a frustrating few weeks, coach Cartwright was delighted to get things back on track. Every team can expect a slump, but it seems the Gold Coast have come out the other side OK and yet still have more improvement to come.
Manly on the flipside, are looking desperate without Jamie Lyon on deck. After already adjusting for the loss of Brett Stewart at the back, then learning to play with Foran and Hodkinson in the halves – now the Sea Eagles have a new challenge minus Lyon.
It gets harder for Manly next week, they face the in-form South Sydney side – who as it stands should put the steamroller through the Eagles it seems.
GOLD COAST 28 (K Gordon 2 L Bailey M Minichiello S Tagataese tries S Prince 4 goals) bt MANLY 14 (M Ballin B Farrar tries S Rodney 3 goals) at Skilled Park. Referee: Gavin Badger, Ben Cummins. Crowd: 17,508.