The Gold Coast Titans have fought hard for a valiant 30-12 victory over the Wests Tigers in front of over 16,000 people at Leichhardt Oval.
1. Titans dare to dream
An incredibly hard-fought win has kept the Titans within finals contention. Coming into the match on 12 points, the game shaped as a must-win for the Coast. Locked at 12 all at halftime, the game was on a knife's edge for want seemed like an eternity before being broken by a Titans penalty goal. Shortly after, the Gold Coast crossed the white line with youngster Alexander Brimson as he scooped up a dropped ball from Moses Mbye to race in to score. The Titans went on to hold the Tigers scoreless for the remainder of the second half. The win puts the Titans on equal points with the Tigers and Raiders despite being the forgotten club in the race to the finals. The way the 2018 draw has worked has meant the Titans have had to play teams above them on the ladder a lot throughout the opening half of the year, however, in the run home, the Gold Coast will play four teams below them, in what could give them the momentum to charge into the finals. It'll be tough, but they're alive in this competition.
2. Mixed day for the Tigers attack
It's been largely accepted that in 2018 the Tigers Achilles heel is their attack, and despite adding Robbie Farah and Mbye into the side were still only able to score 12 points against the worst defensive team in the competition. The first half saw the Tigers score a couple of scintillating long-range tries that had Tigers fans feeling they'd finally worked out how to score points, however errors cruelled their chances in the second half. The Tigers had a plethora of chances to at least even the game up in the final 20 minutes but failed time and time again to execute. While in time they may begin to click with Mbye and Farah, in may be too little too late for the Tigers as they'll face a top four team four times in the run home.
3. Brooks struggles with Farah's return
One of the many questions surrounding Robbie Farah's return to the joint venture was around how it would affect the game of Luke Brooks. Brooks had been having the best season of his short career so far in 2018 but fell to pieces against the Titans. Brooks got caught with the ball on last tackle a couple of times and chose poor options in attack. He also left a gaping hole on his try-line for Ash Taylor to race over and score. While it may not necessarily be Farah affecting Brooks' game, it must be said that when the two play together Brooks struggles to perform.
4. Titans "big 3" dominate
While the name "The Big 3" is usually assigned to the old Melbourne trio of Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Cameron Smith, the Titans are beginning to form their own boisterous trio with Ryan James, Jarrod Wallace and Jai Arrow. James captained the side to victory, bagging himself a try and making 166 metres with the ball. Wallace stood up to the criticism he had copped after his Origin II performance, amassing three tackle breaks and 54 post contact metres in a 173 metres display. Finally, Jai Arrow again proved why he is one of the buys of the season running 200 metres and scoring the final try of the day. Between the three of them, they finished with a combined 539 metres, 159 post contact metres and two tries.
5. Leichhardt faithful walk out
While there was an incredible crowd at Leichhardt Oval it was disappointing to see the Tigers faithful leaving in masses with eight minutes still to go. The Tigers were 12 points down however could've easily come back should they have executed on their opportunities in the final minutes of the game. Not that the Leichhardt crowd would have seen it, you think a fire alarm had gone off the way they poured out of the ground.
What did you learn from the Titan's big win at Leichhardt against the Tigers? Let us know in the comments below.