An AJ Brimson masterclass leads the Gold Coast Titan’s to a 42 – 24 victory over the Manly Sea Eagles.
The Titans came into the Saturday afternoon match at Lottoland land on a three win steak, but the biggest story line leading into the match was the return of Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic.
However, it was the young Titans fullback AJ Brimson who was the star of the show, upstaging his representative opposite number.
With both teams only playing for pride at this point of the season it was Manly who drew first blood through Jack Gosiewski, scoring in only the second set of the game.
The Titans gave a penalty for a lifting tackle which gave Manly an early chance to attack.
Daly Cherry-Evans put Gosiewski through a hole with a deft pass at the line.
Cherry-Evans converted to give his side an early six-point lead.
The Titans hit back when Manly was caught napping on defense. A Tom Trbojevic kick led to a 20-meter restart for the Titans.
Trbojevic had chased his own kick and failed to get back into the defensive line before the Titans took the restart.
AJ Brimson had too much pace for Marty Taupau and Jake Trbojevic and with brother Tom out of position, Brimson was able to run 70 meters to the try line unopposed.
Ash Taylor converted to level the scores.
The Titans started to gain some ascendency through possession and field possession.
Young Tonumaipea was denied a try off an Ash Taylor grubber when he was deemed by the bunker to have knocked on in the process of collecting the ball.
But moments later the Titans converted their field position through Corey Thompson.
The livewire winger finished off a brilliant Taylor long pass by diving into the corner and putting the ball down just before his foot went into touch.
Taylor wasn’t able to convert from the touchline.
The Titans were in again through Tonumaipea. A backline shift involving Taylor and Brimson put Tonumaipea one-on-one with Cherry-Evans.
The former Storm centre wasn’t going to miss out twice and carried Cherry-Evans over the line before forcing the ball.
Taylor was able to convert the try.
The Titans continued to give the Manly right edge defense headaches.
A long ball from Taylor to Thompson on the Titans’ own 20-meter line lead to the winger making a fifty-meter break up the field.
He was eventually tackled by Cherry-Evans but the Manly defensive line couldn’t get themselves set.
Tonumaipea took advantage of the broken defensive line to stroll through for his second try of the afternoon.
The successful conversion pushed the Titan’s lead out to 14 points.
The Sea Eagles were able to keep themselves in touch with a try to Taniela Paseka moments before halftime.
Jake Trbojevic spread the ball to the big prop. The Titans defense thought the ball was going to Tom Trbojevic and left Paseka wide open, allowing him to run through untouched for the try.
Cherry-Evans converted to send Manly into the sheds trailing 22-12.
The Titans didn’t take long to pick up where they left off, scoring in the fourth minute of the second half through backrower Sam Stone.
Taylor failed to convert the try.
The onslaught continued with tries to Kevin Proctor, Brimson, and Tremaine Spry.
Procter, who re-signed with the Titans for another two years this week, beat Tom Trbojevic to a Jamal Fogarty grubber kick when the ball bounced in his favor.
Brimson was again too quick for a retreating defense, taking a Taylor pass at the line all the way to the house without being touched.
Spry scored arguably the most spectacular try of the day when Tom Trbojevic failed to gather a Taylor kick.
Spry managed to grab the ball as it bounced out of Trbojevic’s fingers and crossed for his first NRL try.
Manly scored late tries through Gosiewski and Cherry-Evans but they provided little consolation to the Lottoland faithful.
The final score ending up 42 – 24 to the Titans.
To make matters worse for the Sea Eagles, and New South Wales, Tom Trbojevic left the field with about 20 minutes remaining due to a shoulder injury.
NRL News Player of the Game
3 – AJ Brimson
2 – Ash Taylor
1 – Daly Cherry-Evans