The Gold Coast Titans took on the Newcastle Knights at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Titans lost last week to the Raiders while the Knights had lost their last two against the Tigers and Dragons. The Gold Coast head into the game as favourites.
The game could not have started worse for the Knights.
The kickoff went out on the full and the Titans started with great field position. Less than two minutes into the game, they would get on the scoreboard.
Tyrone Peachey threw a dummy to break through. He offloaded to Kevin Proctor who dived over. Jamal Fogarty converted and the lead was 6-0.
A few minutes later, a high shot by Tyson Frizell left Phillip Sami unable to stand and he left the field for a HIA. Frizell was placed on report.
From the penalty, the Titans would get more great field position.
They spread to the right and Patrick Herbert was strong enough to carry two defenders as he scored in the corner.
Jamal Fogarty nailed the right sideline conversion to make the lead 12-0.
However, Ashley Taylor would drop the kickoff allowing the Knights into attacking range.
Connor Watson had the first chance but the bunker denied it as he was held up. A few tackles later, they would finally get on the scoresheet as Jayden Brailey gave the successful crash ball to Chris Randall.
Kalyn Ponga nailed his first conversion of the year to make the score 12-6.
20 minutes in, Chris Randall would reel away from a tackle holding his arm. It was revealed later that he had broken it.
In the following set, the Knights gave away a high tackle penalty on their goal line. David Fifita took the tap from the 10 and bulldozed his way over. Jamal Fogarty added the 2 and the score was 18-6.
The Titans showed they weren’t afraid to throw it around as they sent Corey Thompson down the sideline with a set play from the kickoff.
After another multiple repeat sets, they would have the ball in the left corner, 5 metres out.
They began to spread right before Tyrone Peachey switched it back to the left. Brian Kelly beat a defender and grubbered for Corey Thompson to score.
Jamal Fogarty sprayed the conversion right and the lead remained 22-6.
5 minutes later, Ashley Taylor would send David Fifita through a gaping hole in the defensive line.
Fifita easily beat Watson, Ponga and Frizell to score his double.
Jamal Fogarty hit the post with the goal kick and the lead remained 26-6.
With a few minutes left in the half, Enari Tuala would make a line break. He got very close before being mowed down by Pat Herbert.
However, Herbert held down too long and was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul.
On the ensuing set, the Knights would spread right and Starford To’a dived over in the corner to score.
Kalyn Ponga nailed the sideline conversion and the lead remained 26-12 to the Titans at the half time break.
Seven minutes into the second half, it looked like the Knights had scored to get themselves back into it.
However, a second look from the bunker showed the ball was held up and it was denied.
Five minutes later, Jarrod Wallace would send David Fifita through a hole.
Fifita managed to beat Kalyn Ponga to score his hat-trick try in the corner.
Jamal Fogarty missed across the face and the lead remained 30-12.
10 minutes later, the Titans would spread left from 30 metres out. Corey Thompson put a big left foot step on Starford To’a and Kalyn Ponga to score.
Jamal Fogarty converted and the lead was 36-12.
From the following kickoff, AJ Brimson would break through the Knights defensive line. He backed himself but was caught by Kalyn Ponga.
However, he fashioned an offload for Patrick Herbert to score his double. Jamal Fogarty added the 2 from right in front to make the lead 42-12.
With 10 minutes left, Hymel Hunt fielded a kick and busted through the kick chase defence.
He was caught but offloaded to Brodie Jones who gave it to Kalyn Ponga to outpace Brimson to the line.
Ponga hooked the conversion as the deficit was lowered to 42-16. This score held until full time.
The Titans defeated the Knights by 26 points.
The Gold Coast will head to Mudgee to play the Sea eagles in the same time slot next Saturday in an attempt to win their second in a row.
Meanwhile, Newcastle will host the Sharks on Friday in the early game.
Titans coach Justin Holbrook knows that this game and no other will be easy but he was pleased with the fluidity that his side showed.
“I wouldn’t say it was easy but I am really happy with the way we are playing,” Holbrook said.
“I thought we played some really good footy tonight and did so straight away.”
Holbrook went on to say that he wants two things from his side; the ability to combine excitement with fun and to defend well.
“That is the way I want my side to be,” Holbrook continued.
“I want our side to be excited about playing footy and obviously you have to defend well and we did that.”
Although they were missing plenty of key personnel, Knight coach Adam O’Brien lamented his side’s errors and lack of execution.
“I wouldn’t say (we have) an attitude problem, do we have a concentration problem, yes,” O’Brien said.
“Do we make silly concentration errors defensively and with the footy, yes.
“We are on a journey of maturity and we need to continue on that journey for as long as it takes.
“It’s hard to defend some of that performance defensively.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. David Fifita (GLD)
2. Corey Thompson (GLD)
1. Tyrone Peachey (GLD)