In a ridiculously high-scoring game, the Gold Coast Titans have remarkably pulled off a huge upset, knocking over perennial powerhouse the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park 38-36.
A see-sawing affair, the Titans win was made all the more impressive by the fact that they had just 14 players left to use after Dan Sarginson (forearm), Ryan Simpkins (knee) and Jarryd Hayne (knee) were all forced to leave the field.
In a 74-pt thriller, the Titans clawed their way back from 28-18 down to go on and win 36-28 at a venue that most teams fail to perform well at.
The night started badly for the Titans as Ryan Simpkins left the field very early on but the club’s resolve and dogged nature and strong performances from Tyrone Roberts, Konrad Hurrell and Anthony Don, ended up being the catalyst for the win.
The score went back-and-forth as the two teams traded tries either through some luck or some genuinely good play and when the Storm crossed in the 64th minute, many thought the game was done and dusted.
It was not to be, however, as the Titans somehow got over the line despite their significant disadvantage in the personnel department as they record another win and a second grand final scalp having beaten the Cronulla Sharks previously.
The loss leaves Melbourne with somewhat of an unwanted record as well; the equal most points scored in a defeat in Australian rugby league history.
Not one to beat around the bush, Storm coach Craig Bellamy criticised his side’s defence and attitude.
“We didn’t control the ball again and I thought our defence was really poor,” said Bellamy.
“We pride ourselves on defence at our club and I can’t remember a poorer defensive effort than what we put up tonight. It’s a real low for me.
“You don’t want to go out there and defend the way we did. To score 36 points and still lose just isn’t on.”
He had a stern warning for his players as well as he threatens to wield the axe in the coming weeks.
“Most of the young guys that have come into our squad have done a really good job and built up some brownie points, but a few of them threw away their brownie points tonight and they won’t get too many chances,” he continued.
Playing in his 150th game, Gold Coast Titans back-rower Chris McQueen scored a try and admitted that whilst the win was downright ugly, a team always needs those sorts of wins.
“They’re the ones you need,” McQueen said.
“There are probably five or six games like that a year where it’s not pretty, it’s messy and you’ve just got to find a way to win and tonight we did that.
“We’ve had a few of those games where we’ve been winning and we’ve lost in the dying minutes so to get one back it evens it out a little bit.”
Player of the Game:
3. Anthony Don
2. Cameron Smith
- Konrad Hurrell
Gold Coast Titans 38 (Konrad Hurrell 2, Ryan James, Leivaha Pulu, Anthony Don, Chris McQueen, Tyrone Roberts tries; Kane Elgey 5 goals) def. Melbourne Storm 36 (Cooper Cronk 2, Billy Slater, Will Chambers, Joe Stimson, Cheyse Blair tries; Cameron Smith 6 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Half-time: Storm 18-16