The Gold Coast Titans have sensationally scored two tries in the final five minutes to come back and steal a 16-10 victory over the St. George Illawarra Dragons at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
In what was a dour affair for much of the clash, the Dragons appeared set to claim victory before a late capitulation saw Justin Holbrook’s side steal the win from the jaws of defeat.
Both sides struggled on attack through the early phases of the match, with neither team registering a try in the first forty minutes.
— Gold Coast Titans (@GCTitans) August 28, 2020
The only first-half points came courtesy of a penalty goal from Zac Lomax, who has scored over 40% of the Dragons’ points this season.
Adam Clyne had the best chance of the opening thirty minutes but was denied of his first NRL try by a desperate tackle from Keegan Hipgrave.
Eight minutes later, the Titans had their chance to score but were controversially denied by the bunker.
Brian Kelly appeared to have capitalised on a lost ball from Mikaele Ravalawa, but it was decided that Ravalawa was held upon first contact and further play was deemed illegal.
With a scoreline better suited to the A-League matches held at Jubilee Oval, the Dragons would maintain their 2-0 lead into the break.
An early second-half onslaught from the Dragons led to a mountain of possession and Jacob Host took full advantage by crossing for the first try of the match.
— NRL (@NRL) August 28, 2020
It didn’t take the Titans long to hit back however, with Phillip Sami splitting four Dragons defenders to score his fourth try in his last four matches against St George.
Despite the setback, the Dragons continued to control the ball with 42 tackles inside the Titans’ 20-metre zone through sixty minutes. The Titans had just four.
With nine minutes to go, Zac Lomax extended the Dragons’ lead to six by adding another two points following a penalty from Keegan Hipgrave.
Against all odds, the Titans levelled the score with just five minutes to go as Tyrone Peachey collected the scraps of a grubber kick that ricocheted against the upright.
The Titans then travelled the length of the field off the following kickoff, with Jamal Fogerty crossing to remarkably give his side their first lead of the contest with three minutes to go.
— NRL (@NRL) August 28, 2020
The Dragons’ last-ditch efforts to regain the lead were snuffed out, with the Titans holding on to claim their fifth victory of the year.
The loss cripples the Dragons’ finals hopes as they sit four points out of the top eight with Cronulla expected to extend the gap to six when they face the Cowboys on Saturday night.
Post match, Dragons interim coach Dean Young stated that his team ‘competed hard’ but admits that his side are struggling to meet the expectations that they set for themselves on a week-to-week basis.
“As a team we come up with three focus points each week and at the moment, we’re not getting the job done… tonight we met zero of the three”, he said.
Meanwhile, Justin Holbrook was extremely pleased with his side’s effort across the park and ‘loved every minute’ of watching his side come back to snatch victory.
“As a team, we had six key guys missing tonight and whoever we put out there was desperate to play. I just wanted us to be proud of our performance and be proud to represent our club”, he stated.
The Dragons will face off against the Cowboys in a must-win clash next Sunday, while the Titans will fancy their chances to snare back-to-back wins when they face off against the out-of-form Bulldogs on Saturday.
Man of the Match:
3 Points – AJ Brimson – The lads on the NRL News Take the Two podcast spoke about how Brimson has revitalised the Titans’ attack since his return, and the fullback delivered tonight with two line-breaks and a try assist. Genuinely looked dangerous every time he touched the ball.
2 Points – Jamal Fogerty – Captained the side for the first time last week and had a stellar performance tonight as he streaked away from the defenders to score the match-winning try. Justin Holbrook commended his halfback for his performance, stating that Fogerty overcame significant personal turmoil this week to put in one of the best games of his young career.
1 Point – Jarrod Wallace – The Queensland representative was solid tonight with 27 tackles and 14 hit-ups in a fifty-two minute performance. Wallace hasn’t had the best year on-field, but tonight’s performance demonstrated the strong work ethic that has earned him an origin berth in each of the past three years.