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Titans click, Warriors miss big chance

Konrad Hurrell of the Titans. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
29th July, 2018
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The New Zealand Warriors have missed a chance to nail down an NRL finals spot as Gold Coast ran away 36-12 winners at home.

The Titans turned it on in a five-try second half on Sunday afternoon to get one back against a Warriors side that had won their past seven games at Cbus Super Stadium.

It may have come too late to save their own season but the Titans’ razzle-dazzle has at least given the Wests Tigers hope.

The result left the ninth-placed side just two wins adrift of the Warriors, who missed a golden chance to consolidate their first finals appearance since 2011 against a team they’d beaten in 14 of their past 15 contests.

Their dominance looked set to continue when the visitors turned the momentum to lead 12-8 at halftime, only for the Titans to produce some of their finest football under first-year coach Garth Brennan.

First, a Brenko Lee linebreak put Anthony Don over before the centre juggled a sharp intercept to jag one for himself.

When AJ Brimson backed up Mitch Rein’s dart from dummy-half it was 26-12 and the Warriors looked out on their feet.

Winger Phillip Sami then capped a fine game with a wicked step on Roger Tuivasa-Sheck for the first of his two late tries.

The Titans survived a video review for obstruction as Konrad Hurrell opened the game with his first try since round one.

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But they spilled the ball from the returning set and Shaun Johnson made the most of it, dancing through two would-be tackles to score almost untouched.

Gold Coast then ran 95m in three tackles but curiously opted to take the two points when awarded a penalty.

Michael Gordon missed the kick but made amends when put in the same situation moments later.

That put them ahead by two but also allowed the tiring Warriors to turn the momentum.

A reply eventually came through former Titan Karl Lawton after the Warriors were piggybacked by a needless penalty late in the previous set.

Jarrod Wallace’s availability next week could be the only concern for the Titans after the Queensland forward’s role in a tackle that sent James Gavet from the ground.