Once again led by Jarryd Hayne, the Gold Coast Titans overpowered the Newcastle Knights and ran out convincing 38-8 winners at home in Robina.
Although the first half was quite an event contest, the Knights ran out of steam as the Titans kicked it into second and third gear, running away with the contest to put themselves in a good position so far this season.
Whilst the scoreline itself might appear lopsided, the first half showed the character and enthusiasm of the Knights team to perform solidly and for each other no matter the result.
The Knights hit the front early courtesy of a try to Sam Stone before a penalty goal put then up 8-0. The Titans soon hit back as Hayne, who had just won a penalty for his team the play before, took a quick tap and caught the Knights defenders off-guard to score.
Hayne’s second came soon after as he powered over off the back of a short pass from half Ash Taylor and from there, the traffic was seemingly endless.
Equally impressive on the other side was Konrad Hurrell, who after a slow start to the year due to injury is starting to hit his straps and perform at the level the Titans fans expect him to.
Despite the best efforts of the Knights to produce opportunities, they were repelled by the Titans or their own errors cost them. In the end, the weight of possession proved the telling factor, with the Knights afforded little opportunity to mount strong raids.
There was a rare moment in the game when Knights prop Daniel Saifiti made a break, galloping away down the field and eventually caught by a Titans player. A prop in open play is always a sight to see!
With just 42% of the ball in the end, Knights coach Nathan Brown knew that it was always going to be a tall order.
“One of our big issues is the weight of possession which probably hurt us in the first half,” Brown said.
“That weight of possession kills us in the development of our younger players. Some players who were outstanding in the first half look like they’re not good players in the second half.
“We’ve got a lot of players at the moment that unfortunately when the weight of possession keeps going against it as it does, we can’t mentally hang through it long enough.
Although he played at centre in this game, Hayne anticipates a return to fullback for him is on the cards soon.
“Yeah definitely. Hopefully, later on, shift back to fullback,” Hayne said when asked whether he expected to return to the No.1 jersey.
“I’ve played it the most of my career but as you saw today I can play anywhere and I enjoy playing anywhere.
“I was changing a lot with ‘T’ (Tyrone Roberts) last week and we were meant to do that again today but we kind of got in that rhythm and we probably attacked their left edge a bit more and gave us both that time to shift over there. That’s how I scored my second try.”
Player of the Game:
3. Konrad Hurrell
2. Jarryd Hayne
- Joe Greenwood
Gold Coast Titans 38 (Jarryd Hayne 2, Konrad Hurrell 2, Kane Elgey, Joe Greenwood, Ryan James tries; Kane Elgey 3, Ash Taylor 2 goals) def. Newcastle Knights 8 (Sam Stone try; Brock Lamb 2 goals) at Cbus Super Stadium. Crowd: 10,511. Half-time: Knights 8-6. Holden Cup: Knights 50-22.