A captains knock from Kevin Proctor led the Gold Coast Titans to a 30 – 10 victory over Queensland rivals the North Queensland Cowboys.
The Sunday afternoon clash between the Titans and Cowboys at CBUS Super Stadium had an interesting sub plot.
The winner of the Queensland derby would be the highest ranked Queensland team on the NRL ladder at the end of Round 13.
The headlines leading into the game surrounded the return on Michael Morgan.
As a result, the cowboys came into the game heavy favourites.
But it was the Titans who had planned an ambush.
They shot out to a 20 – 0 halftime lead and all but took the game away from the visitors.
It was a dream start for the Titans when their leading try scorer Anthony Don crossed over inside the first 5 minutes.
A sweeping AJ Brimson got on the outside of Tom Opacic drawing in Justin O’Neill and creating an easy overlap for Don to score in the corner.
Ash Taylor failed to convert the try.
The Titans went in again off the back of a repeat set when Fogarty forced a drop out putting the Cowboys under pressure.
Off the resulting set, Taylor put Captain Kevin Proctor over with a deft short ball at the line.
Proctor carried several defenders over to score.
Taylor failed to convert again.
It started to look dire for the visitors when fullback Brimson scored the first of his double minutes later.
Brian Kelly broke the line off a regulation carry thanks to some soft defence from Coen Hess.
Kelly offloaded to Brimson who scored under the posts.
Fogarty took over the kicking duties and converted the try.
Brimson scored his second and Taylor and Proctor combined to put him through a hole.
Taylor fired a ball to Proctor right at the defensive line.
Proctor showed great skill to catch and quickly pass the ball back inside to Brimson who ran through almost untouched.
Fogarty converted again for a 20 – 0 halftime lead.
It was the worst possible start to the second half for the Cowboys when Kelly scored for the Titans off a piece of brilliance from Procter.
Taylor kicked through into the in goal.
It looked as though the ball was going to go over the dead ball line but a diving Proctor batted it back into the field of play.
Kelly won the race to the ball to score the Titans fifth try of the game.
Fogarty missed the conversion.
The Cowboys began to mount a fight back, scoring through wingers Kyle Feldt and O’Neill.
But any chance of victory was snuffed out when the Titans scored their sixth try of the game though Phillip Sami.
Fogarty kicked the touchline conversion to leave a final score of 30 – 10 to the Titans.
While the Titans are long odds of playing finals this season, their recent form will give fans something to be excited for in 2021.
Cowboys coach Josh Hannay did not mince his words, labelling his side’s performance a disservice.
“It was a real step backwards for us,” Hannay said.
“I thought we’d made some improvements in that [attitude] area the past two or three weeks.
“I thought the first half [where the Titans led 20-0] was just really poor.
“They did the jersey and the club a disservice with some of the football that was put out there.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3 – Kevin Proctor (GLD)
2 – AJ Brimson (GLD)
1 – Brian Kelly (GLD)