Nathan Friend Gold Coast TitansThe Gold Coast Titans took a short while to warm up, but they had plenty in the tank to run down the Newcastle Knights – running away winners 34-20 at Skilled Park earlier today.

The match saw the return of the high flying former Raider William Zillman – the super fast outside back scoring a long range try on debut for his new side. A healthy crowd of just under 17,000 went into raptures as Zillman raced around several struggling Knights defenders to touchdown.

The Zillman try coming against the run of play with Titans winger Esi Tonga snatching a kick to send Zillman on the long range attacking movement that saw him speed over with minutes to go in the game.

It was all the Knights early, the Newcastle side up 14 zip not far from half-time – before the Titans began overhauling their opponents. The Gold Coast going into the break 16-14 before putting the accelerator down soon after – skipping out to a 20-14 lead after some nifty Scott Prince lead up work. The crafty no.7 for the Titans throwing a huge dummy to dazzle Ben Rogers, the half cruising over for an opportunist try.

But the Knights had some chances too as the game wore on, in an affair that was ultimately fairly average.

Just when the Titans looked to be skipping away, Newcastle refused to concede before 80 minutes was up.
The experienced Adam MacDougall magically getting an off-load away with at least 4 tacklers hanging off him – setting up teammate and former Titan himself Matt Hilder who’s touchdown got the score back to 22-20 with the Knights just 2 points away.

Former Bronco Brad Meyers came into his own shortly after, the veteran rolling over the top of Knighs hooker Isaac De Gois and then doing the same to Gidley in a damaging run that saw him charge over 20m to crash over just prior to the 60th minute mark. The good work of Meyers seemingly lifting his side from their temporary slumber.

Then it was left to Zillman to put the icing on the cake, the new recruit showing his wares – with his long range effort.

The Knights and coach Brian Smith will be lamenting the one that got away, with a 14-0 at half an hour and the Newcastle machine seemingly in top gear – then the wheels fell off or at least got caught to some extent.

On a positive note, the flashy Aku Uate was strong for his side, getting a nice touchdown on the 7th minute mark.

Knights no.7 Jarrod Mullen also got over the strip, standing up rival Scott Prince before dragging three other Titans over the line.

When star utility Kurt Gidley potted a penalty goal on the 30 minute mark – it was 14 – 0 and all the Knights.

But the revival of the Titans came through an unlikely source, nuggety hooker Nathan Friend who has been on the outter with the club – was the man to get things rolling for his mob.

The little hooker having a hand in three Titans tries in a period of only 6 minutes.
First Friend jumping out of dummy half to send Mat Rogers flying over.

Then it was Luke O’Dwyer’s turn – after he juggled a Prince pass then reeling it in to duck over the line on 34 minutes.

Next to come was a Prince break, Rogers stabbing a kick into the Knights in-goal – with Knights flanker McMannus spilling the ball.

Tonga then pounced, hurling the ball back to Friend before falling over the deadball line for the easiest of tries.

GOLD COAST 34 (N Friend B Meyers L O’Dwyer S Prince M Rogers W Zillman tries S Prince 5 goals) bt NEWCASTLE 20 (M Hilder J Mullen A Uate tries K Gidley 4 goals) at Skilled Park. Referee: M Cecchin, Chris James. Crowd: 16,203.

By ricky

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