A masterful display by Gold Coast halfback Scott Prince helped the Titans snap a five-game losing streak, with a 26-14 NRL victory over Manly on Saturday night.
It was a case of last year’s wooden spooners against the reigning premiers, but neither side played up to their title at Brookvale Oval, much to the dismay of the largely pro-Manly crowd of 11,619.
The Titans showed an energy in attack and defence which eluded them through 2011, while Manly sorely missed their international quartet of Tony Williams (suspension), Kieran Foran (hamstring), Brett Stewart (ribs) and Glenn Stewart (thumb).
Titans skipper Prince masterminded the victory, laying on three of their four tries, including two in the second half with pin-point cross-field kicks to wingers David Mead and Kevin Gordon that extended the visitors’ lead to 14 points.
The 32-year-old also kicked five goals in a man-of-the-match performance – easily his best of the season.
The Titans enjoyed the better of the first half, taking a lead into the break thanks to a slow-motion try to Jamal Idris in the 29th minute.
Idris, clearly hampered by the hamstring injury which caused him to miss three matches this season, was put into an enormous gap before lumbering towards the tryline.
Idris, who was placed on report for a high shot on Jamie Lyon, didn’t return after the halftime break.
Lyon was able to recover from the hit to scamper through for a try of his own, which levelled the scores after Titans debutant Aidan Sezer had opened the scoring with a scything run in the ninth minute.
Titans lock Ashley Harrison was also put on report for a high shot on Vic Mauro, while Manly’s Jamie Buhrer also found himself on report for a dangerous lifting tackle on David Mead late in the half, though prop Darcy Lussick appeared to be the main aggressor in the tackle.
Manly centre Steve Matai went off in the 70th minute after suffering a shoulder injury, while Lyon scored his second with two minutes left which he converted for a personal haul of 14 points.
The Sea Eagles’ title defence continued to stumble, the team falling to eighth spot on the ladder with three wins and four losses.