Just one round in and we had a nail-biting finish, with the Wests Tigers and Gold Coast Titans only split by a last-minute field goal to Pat Richards that saw the Tigers win 19-18.
Known for his big boot and accurate kicking, Richards made no mistake, taking a pass from Luke Brooks who feigned to kick before Richards took the field goal and made it with ease.
The game went back and forth between the two sides, with no clear winner evident until Richards’ field goal. A thrilling game overall, more than 14,000 fans were treated to a cracker of a game at Cbus Super Stadium.
With the game going down to the wire, Tigers captain Robbie Farah was pleased to have a cool head and an accurate boot like Pat Richards to rely on.
“It’s not the first time he’s done it,” Farah said.
“It’s nice when you’ve got someone of his ability with the boot, not only the field goal but a couple of conversions from the sideline that gave us a bit of breathing space.”
Richards was not about to take all the credit, though, praising young half Luke Brooks for his work in the lead-up.
“Luke Brooks helped me a fair bit there,” said Richards.
“He’s hit a few last year so they obviously took a lot of the heat and I was just lucky enough that I connected all right with it and it went over.”
As for the Titans, despite the loss and the recent turmoil the club has faced in light of the drug scandal, they fought valiantly.
It was an effort that left coach Neil Henry pleased with his players efforts and commitment.
“Very disappointing to lose with a couple of seconds to go when we’ve fought from behind to come back into a game and we didn’t take our opportunities in attack a couple of comes,” Henry said.
“But I think everyone who was watching the game and the fans that turned up have seen a committed team that’s had a real dig today and a little bit unlucky.
The effort was there, but Henry knows that his side’s execution will have to improve if they are to get better.
“If they can walk away from here with that in their heads that will get them back here next time so I’m proud of the boys for that, but our execution needs to be better and we need to be able to prevent a few of those tries that were scored,” said Henry.
Players of the Game:
3. Pat Richards
2. James Roberts
1. Ryan James