The Titans overcame an 18 point deficit to steal one of the Titans’ all time great victories, beating the Canterbury Bulldogs 19-18 at C-Bus Stadium today.
It was the Titans final game of the year and a send-off for the injured and retiring Luke Bailey and Super League bound Mark Minichiello.
The first half played to a familiar script. The Bulldogs seemed to have the edge in every aspect of the game and the Titans looked defeated after Tim Lafai scored in the 11th minute.
James Graham and Reni Maitua went on to cross the line, with Trent Hodkinson converting all three of the Bulldogs tries.
Paul Carter was a heavy hitter and serial pest in the ruck but had to leave the field after he began leaking claret. He then came back on only to succumb to a knee injury.
Both sides went into the sheds at half time with the Doggies up 0-18.
But this game would not conform to the large majority of the Titans disappointing year. This was Mark Minichiello and Luke Bailey’s send-off game at home.
Kalifa Faifai Loa was the first to cross the chalk for the Gold Coast after Aidan Sezer lobbed up a cross field kick that went to ground amidst a contest. Faifai Loa was the first to get his hand on the pill amid the confusion. Sezer was unable to convert.
Anthony Don then picked up the pill and bolted after the Dogs butchered a genuine chance on the Titans line. The only Bulldog with enough gas in the tank to chase Don was the big Pommy prop, James Graham. Sezer nailed the conversion – because it was smack, bang in front.
There looked to be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel with the Titans fighting back, with the scores at 10-18.
Mark Minichiello then stepped up in his last match and on the Bulldogs line, threw a dummy, fended, fended, bounced away from a would-be defender and then dove over the line. Sezer again, was unable to convert.
The Titans made a break from their own line which was halted when Tony Williams put a vicious shoulder charge into Aidan Sezer, leaving him seeing stars and ending with Williams on report.
With two and a half minutes left on the clock and the Titans down 14-18 Brad Takairangi darted into dummy half, threw a dummy left, went right and barged over the line. The scores were level at 18-all with a conversion to go but the Titans were all scratching their heads because their goal kicker, Aidan Sezer, was off the field nursing a head ache.
Daniel Mortimer stepped up to the kicking tee and let rip. The pill soared true and strong until it thumped into one of the uprights that is.
The fulltime siren sounded and we went into golden point. The Titans received the kick-off but made a meal of their first set, spilling the ball after a couple of hit-up’s, gifting the Bulldogs primo real estate. Trent Hodkinson wound up for a field goal attempt from 15 metres out and sprayed it.
The Titans worked the ball up field, Sezer was still on the sideline on the fifth the Gold Coast boys threw the ball around like a pinball machine before Will Zillman got a hold of it and booted over the winning field goal.
It was a win for the ages and a great send off for man of the match, Mark Minichiello, Luke Bailey and the already retired Ash Harrison.