The St George Illawarra Dragons have held on to defeat the Titans by one point on Sunday afternoon in front of 12, 189 fans at Cbus Stadium on the Gold Coast.
Five-eight Gareth Widdop steered the Dragons around the field and kicked the winning field goal in a man of the match performance.
The Dragons opened the scoring in the 5th minute when Widdop linked up with his halves partner Benji Marshall who drew the Titans defence and found a storming Leeson Ah Mau who charged through the line 15m out to score the same distance in from the right hand sideline. Widdop was successful with the conversion to give the Dragons the early 6-0 lead.
The Dragons looked set to score their second try when Adam Quinlan put winger Charly Runciman away down the right hand touch-line. The quick play of the ball saw the Dragons shift the ball right and a Marshall cut-out pass was intercepted by Titans winger Kevin Gordon who raced 90m to score under the posts. Mid-week recruit Daniel Mortimer successfully converted to bring the scores level 6-6 in the 14 minute.
Repeats sets from Dragons errors and a penalty gave the Titans the opportunity to score their second try in the 25th minute when back rower Mark Minichiello crashed over between Dragons defenders. Greg Bird successfully converted giving the home team a 12-6 lead.
Dragons representative center Josh Dugan showed his class in the 32nd minute when he stepped and weaved his way through several Titans defenders having received the ball from Marshall 15m out. Widdop converted to bring the scores level at 12-12.
The second half was evenly matched until Dragons representative forward Trent Merrin put the Dragons in front in the 60th minute showing great footwork and skill at the line after collecting a nice short pass from fellow forward Mike Cooper. Widdop converted to give the Dragons a six-point lead, 18-12.
The Dragons had a number of attacking opportunities in the later half of the game but it wasn’t until the 73rd minute when Widdop extended the Dragons lead to seven points with a field goal.
With two minutes left to play the Titans found an opening down their left and Brad Takairangi crossed in the corner. Bird nailed the conversion from the sideline but the Dragons held on to take the victory 19-18.
Dragons: 19 Tries: Ah Mau, Dugan, Merrin Goals: Widdop 3/3 Field Goal: Widdop
Titans: 18 Tries: Gordon, Minichiello, Takairangi Goals: Mortimer 1/1 Bird 2/2