Enjoying a resurgence of late, it was another win for the Gold Coast Titans, as they put on the afterburners in the second half to defeat the Penrith Panthers in 32-6 win at Cbus Super Stadium.
It was all razzle-dazzle in the second half by the Titans, even if the first half was poor by both teams standards. The shifting from fullback between Will Zillman and Josh Hoffman had the Panthers on edge and they had no answer for the Titans fluid attack.
Although there was less than 10,000 fans at the venue, it was a pleasant one for the Titans, as the fans were treated to a good game. With a mounting injury toll for the Panthers, it was a sin-binning on Isaah Yeo that changed the game.
There were injuries galore out of the game, as Nate Myles (calf) and Elijah Taylor (knee) late withdrawals in the warm-up. To follow on from that, Ryan Simpkins (leg), Agnatius Paasi (foot), Josh Mansour (knee) and Brent Kite (leg) all left the game early and did not finish.
It was literally a game of two halves in every respect, with the opening 15-20 minutes a shambles. Errors and penalties were rife and it was only as the game wore on, that both clubs started to find any fluidity. The Titans found their mojo with both Zillman and Hoffman scoring doubles.
The forwards set the tone for the Titans in their attack and that foundation allowed the attacking players to make their mark on the game. Kane Elgey was also impressive in his young NRL career to date, showing that he is a crafty, talented player.
With Myles out of the clash, it was Zillman who acted as the stand-in captain. For him, it was all about the confidence the side got from last week’s clash and with two in a row including a first win at home, it was a good boost for the emerging Titans side.
“Obviously we took a bit of confidence out of last week but at the same time if we’d come out today and turned it up then that all shatters that,” said stand-in skipper Zillman.
“To get two in a row and our first win at home I think we’ll take a bit of confidence out of that.”
Defensively, Zillman was impressed with the efforts by his side. Although he knows his side was tired, they somehow found a way through to somehow go on with the game.
“We did a lot of defence in the first half due to penalties and it took its toll on us. At half-time we were looking pretty tired but I felt the second half we did the same to them, held our possession a lot better and the tide turned,” said Zillman.
The loss of Yeo to the bin was the turning point for Panthers coach Ivan Cleary, who knows that his side has to improve despite the mounting injury toll.
“When we got to 12 men that was a significant change in the game,” said Cleary.
“I thought we had plenty of chances, we dominated the start of the second half but we never ever got our game on today.
“Down to 12 men, they put couple of tries on and our spirits got dented a bit. All in all it was just a disjointed performance.”
Player of the Game:
3. Josh Hoffman
2. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
1. Will Zillman.
Gold Coast Titans 32 (William Zillman 2, Josh Hoffman 2, James Roberts tries; Aidan Sezer 5, Greg Bird goals) def. Penrith Panthers 6 (Waqa Blake tries; Matt Moylan goal). Crowd: 9,244. Sin-binned: Isaah Yeo (Panthers, 61st).