The Gold Coast Titans were able to hold off a fast finishing Wests Tigers to record an opening round win in 2023 and continue a hot streak at Leichhardt Oval.
In front of a raucous home crowd, the Tigers fans went in with high hopes that a win was on the cards and they took the lead via a penalty goal from Adam Doueihi.
With David Fifita now back on the left, he was able to show just how potent he can be after Kieran Foran put him through a gap and he found Philip Sami on his outside who raced away to score.
The Titans and Sami would soon have a second try, this time via a deft kick from AJ Brimson. Sami won the race to the ball and planted it down with the Titans in control.
If the Tigers were wanting to make an impact to start the second half, they did no such thing as the Titans scored a third try.
In what was perhaps an embarrassing moment for the Tigers, they failed to contest Tanah Boyd’s crossfield kick and instead, the ball bounced straight into the welcoming arms of Sam McIntyre to score.
Not a side to give up their attacking mojo or the game, the Tigers proved they have a good attack when it fires as they scored the next try.
With the defenders rushing up, Doueihi spotted a gap, hit the jets and was able to split the defence to score the Tigers first try.
Peppering the Titans line with waves of attack, pressure eventually paid off as Doueihi this time turned provider for Daine Laurie to slice through a big gap.
Just as the Tigers closed the gap and thought they were back in the contest, the Titans effectively sealed the game with a try for Brimson.
Off a scrum play, the Titans pulled off the old Storm inside-out trick, as Campbell took the line on, and passed back to Brimson who hit a gap at speed and scored with no one in front of him.
That would be all she wrote as the Tigers new campaign gets off to a shaky start but the Titans get an opening round win for the first time in several years.
Titans coach Justin Holbrook was pleased that his side got the win and admits it was a good opening test for them.
“It was a really tough win and I’m thrilled we played well enough to win,” said Holbrook.
“We got tested as well as we could’ve in Round 1.”
Despite the loss, Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens believes the positives are there and if they can ice their opportunities, then wins are not too far away.
“We just didn’t nail it every time and scoreboard pressure mounted,” said Sheens.
“I saw enough signs there to be looking forward to next week.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Adam Doueihi (WST)
2. David Fifita (GLD)
1. AJ Brimson (GLD)