The closing game of round one brought up one of the most thrilling finishes of the week with the Gold Coast Titans pulling off a remarkable comeback against the Canberra Raiders, winning 30-28.
1 WHAT A FINISH!
A red-hot Raiders outfit burst out of the blocks in the first half putting on three tries in the opening 12 minutes to take an 18 point lead. The Titans looked dead and buried, but towards the latter half of the first half the Coast scored a couple of tries, however conceded another one, leaving the halftime break score at 24 to 12. The Titans showed tremendous fight in the second half to get themselves right back into the contest, then, in the final minutes of play an Ash Taylor grubber kick bamboozled everyone with four players from both sides unable to grab the ball, before Konrad Hurrell found himself in the right place at the right time, and was able to crash over to equal the scores. The try was converted by Michael Gordon, and the Titans capped off a great comeback to begin 2018.
2 Garth 1 - Ricky 0
An interesting coincidence from this game was that it happened to fall on Ricky Stuart's 100th NRL game as coach of the Raiders. On the other hand, it was Garth Brennan's very first game as an NRL coach. Brennan managed to claim a win in his first game, souring Stuart's achievement, and perhaps out-coaching him, with Stuart's trademark tactics of conceding intentional penalties on the goal-line eventually proving the Raiders fatal flaw, with the team unable to cling to their lead on the back of a significant amount of defense. Brennan on the other hand, was able to drag his team out of the gutter at halftime, sending them out to pull off a courageous win.
3 Taylor stars
On the back of signing a new contract with the Titans for a further three seasons, halfback Ash Taylor was under pressure to repay the faith, and he did it in spades! An incredible four try-assists, including the match winning kick, cemented what was an awesome performance from the young man. With two vacant halves jerseys going for the Queensland team, Taylor certainly did himself a few favours.
4 Clutch moment
With the Raiders running rampant in the first quarter with an 18 point lead, they had the opportunity to extend the lead into a four try lead when Josh Papalii broke through some weak defense. As he approached the fullback he had players either side of him that would've strolled over should the pass have connected, however Papalii butchered the pass killing the opportunity. The very next set the Titans scored their first try, and the comeback began, what a mistake...
5 Dangerous signs for both sides
Despite the exciting finish the game brings up a few questions of both sides, specifically defensively. Although round one is never particularly known for strong defensive efforts, the defensive of both the Titans and Raiders would have to be described as dreadful. Both coaches have a lot to work on before next week.
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