Ashley Taylor got his groove back against the Tigers. Picture: Getty
Ashley Taylor got his groove back against the Tigers. Picture: Getty

Titans break 364 day drought in brave win

It has been 364 days since the Gold Coast Titans last tasted victory.

But they made every second of those 12 months count on Sunday night as they finally delivered a win in spectacular fashion at Suncorp Stadium, defeating Wests Tigers 28-23.

Phillip Sami will go down as the hero who scored the winning try, snatching the four points off the back of a desperate Brian Kelly kick in the dying minutes.

 

Titans players react after Phillip Sami scored the winning try. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled
Titans players react after Phillip Sami scored the winning try. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

 

But really, every single Titans player poured their heart and soul into that win.

It was the first NRL victory for coach Justin Holbrook and it has lifted the Titans off the bottom of the ladder and ended an absolute horror run for the embattled club.

They were staring down the barrel of their 15th straight loss, but it was clear from midway through the first half that the Titans were not going to go down without a fight.

The Tigers raced out to a 12-0 lead, but the Titans fought back to go into halftime locked at 12-all.

It was the kind of fight and composure that fans and critics alike have been waiting to see from the Gold Coast for a long time.

 

Anthony Don flies high to grab the ball and score a try for the Titans. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images
Anthony Don flies high to grab the ball and score a try for the Titans. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

 

Holbrook admitted after the match that he was worried by the start, but thought the team showed a resilience he had not seen yet and it will give their self-confidence a boost.

"It's obviously great to get the win and also in that fashion," Holbrook said.

"I wasn't thinking, 'here we go again' (at 12-0) but I was definitely not happy with that. Now that we have hindsight, it's great we could show that resilience to keep fighting back. That's the most pleasing thing.

"I was always confident we were going to give it our best shot.

"We were none from three. To get off the mark is great.

"They can show that if you keep hanging in there and working harder, you can get the result you need. It's only a start but it was an important win."

Their efforts appeared doomed when once again the Tigers put on two quick tries in the second stanza, taking a 22-12 lead by the 53rd minute.

But it was million dollar man Ash Taylor who helped bring his team back into the game.

While Keegan Hipgrave scored just before the 60th minute, Taylor equalised the game with 10 minutes to go, putting through a perfectly placed grubber for Kelly.

It all seemed over for the Titans when veteran Tigers playmaker Benji Marshall kicked a field goal with just three minutes left on the clock, but the Gold Coast were not done yet.

 

Benji Marshall almost sealed the game for the Tigers with a late field goal. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled
Benji Marshall almost sealed the game for the Tigers with a late field goal. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

 

Holbrook's message before kick off was to play smart.

And that's what the Titans did as they raced away with the win.

It wasn't always perfect - it was messy and chaotic.

But it's exactly what the Titans needed to kick start their season.

They still have a long way to go, but as the only Queensland team to claim a victory in the NRL this weekend, there will be plenty for the Titans to celebrate.

They fought hard, showed plenty of grit and a great amount of heart.

It was a real show of resilience that they have not always displayed and the key for the Titans now will be to build upon this as they turn their attention to the Rabbitohs on Saturday.

 

 

SCOREBOARD

GOLD COAST 28 (A Don K Hipgrave B Kelly K Proctor P Sami tries A Taylor 4 goals) bt WESTS TIGERS 23 (D Nofoaluma 2 A Doueihi J Leilua tries B Marshall 3 goals B Marshall field goal) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Adam Gee

 

Ashley Taylor got his groove back against the Tigers. Picture: Getty
Ashley Taylor got his groove back against the Tigers. Picture: Getty

 

Originally published as The secret behind million-dollar man's Titans rebirth


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