It may not have been the prettiest game but it was a win that the Canterbury Bulldogs will take, securing a vital two points at home.
Both sides were buoyed for different reasons – the Dogs were celebrating the 200th milestone game for Greg Eastwood and the Titans welcomed back Greg Bird.
It was the Dogs who started the stronger of the two sides, eventually running out to a 20-8 lead in the second half.
Both teams had periods of good play in the clash, and the Titans, as they have shown in the past, rally behind each other and never give up.
They fought tooth and nail to claw their way back and did so, and tied the game up to force it to golden point.
Back and forth they went, nervous moments for all, with both sides initially missing numerous field goals.
But when it mattered, Josh Reynolds stepped up to the plate, had a crack and the ball sailed through the posts for the win. A much needed one for the Dogs, yet the Titans have now lost their fourth straight match.
They may have won but the Bulldogs have an underlying issue. They cannot close out games effectively.
“The conditions made it hard enough but we certainly made it harder on ourselves. I said to the boys at half-time I feel like we were three sides out there: the Titans playing us, us playing the Titans and we were bashing ourselves up a couple of times,” said Bulldogs coach Des Hasler.
“We didn’t manage it as good as we should have at 20-8. You go on with the game from there and that’s what we need to get better at. We didn’t close the game out last week and we very nearly paid a heavy penalty for not closing the game out this week.
“That’s something we have to be mindful of and something we can’t let happen again. Our lapses are totally self-inflicted.”
Although the Titans have lost four in a row, they have remained competitive and they can take something away from the games according to coach Neil Henry.
“I think the boys in there are okay. They’re dejected because we’re not getting the win but I think they’ve been up to the task and been competitive every week,” Henry said.
“I suppose 20-8 down again, we’re chasing points. But I thought we really ramped it up for a period there and kept them down their end.
“We had an opportunity with a few minutes to go before we went into golden point to do something but we missed a couple of opportunities with our shots at field goal.”
Player of the Game:
3. Josh Reynolds
2. Greg Bird
1. Josh Jackson
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 21 (Curtis Rona, Sam Perrett, Will Hopoate, Josh Jackson tries; Kerrod Holland 2 goals; Josh Reynolds field goal) defeated Gold Coast Titans 20 (Zeb Taia, David Mead, Josh Hoffman tries; Tyrone Roberts 4 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Crowd: 11,450. Half-time: Bulldogs 14-8.