Titans score gutsy NRL win over Cowboys

Wayne Heming, NZ Newswire Updated June 2, 2012, 1:43 am

Gold Coast continued their mid-season surge with an eye-catching 28-12 NRL win over North Queensland at Skilled Park on Friday night to finally break their home hoodoo.

Ridiculed as 150-1 premiership outsiders after a horror start to 2012, the Titans' disposal of a quality Cowboys outfit would have had bookmakers running for cover after their third straight and most impressive win.

On a day when reports surfaced the financially embattled club may yet be able to pay some of their creditors, the Titans posted their first home win since round 24 last year to end a six-game home losing streak in front of a crowd of 12,092.

It was just their second win in their past 14 games at Skilled Park but one which could prove a turning point in their season.

It didn't look to be the Titans' night after young five-eighth Aidan Sezer allowed Johnathan Thurston's kick-off to bounce in goal and go dead.

In an amazing opening 10 minutes, the Titans were forced to make four goal line drop-outs in a row and 50 tackles to just one by the Cowboys.

Cowboys representative props Matt Scott and James Tamou smashed the Titans up the middle early with a glut of possession but the Titans back-row tackled themselves to a standstill to stop every raid until the tide turned late in the half.

Tries to winger Kevin Gordon in the 18th minute and NSW State of Origin representative Greg Bird in the 35th minute were converted by halfback Scott Prince to give the Titans a most unlikely 12-0 halftime lead.

Queensland lock Ashley Harrison showed the hands of an Australian slips fieldsman to scoop up a Matt Srama grubber in the 56th minute and cross for a brilliant try.

When centre Beau Champion scored five minutes later for the first of his double, the Titans had shot out to a 22-0 lead.

The Cowboys only managed to get on the scoreboard in the 70th minute when late inclusion Cory Paterson scored before Jason Taumalolo crossed in the final minute of the match.

The high-paced clash claimed Titans prop Luke Bailey, who was taken to hospital with a `popped rib' and Cowboys hooker James Segeyaro, diagnosed with a high grade syndesmosis (ankle injury).

Titans coach John Cartwright used the win to take a shot at critics who, just a month ago, had written off his team.

"People were quick to say our season was over," said Cartwright.

"But the playing group didn't believe that and they've stayed tough through some dark times."

Cartwright said Bird was playing the best football of his career and he also praised the rapid progress of Sezer.

Cowboys coach Neil Henry copped the club's second straight loss on the chin, refusing to offer up any excuses.

"Anyone who watched that game could see we were comprehensively outplayed," he said,

"We were out-defended by a better side on the night, they haven't got any excuses."

Cartwright meanwhile confirmed Bailey had gone to hospital as a precaution while Henry was uncertain how serious Segeyaro's ankle injury was.

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