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No Moses, no worries as Eels down Titans

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16th July, 2021
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David Fifita left it too late to make an impact as Gold Coast’s renewed top-eight NRL hopes fell flat in a 26-8 loss to a Reed Mahoney-inspired Parramatta.

The Eels began their Gold Coast hub stay in fine fashion with a quick kill of the hosts, up 20-0 at halftime despite the late withdrawal of rested NSW Origin halfback Mitchell Moses.

The Titans had beaten Canberra 44-6 before last week’s bye and, with all three Queensland Origin representatives backing up, hoped to make a statement in their push for a top-eight spot.

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Instead they were shown up by a side with lofty ambitions of their own – the Eels moving to a 13-4 season record to maintain their comfy gap on fifth.

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Hooker Mahoney was in everything in a successful return from the injury that ruined his chances of a Queensland Origin debut, while centre Ryan Matterson added a try to his dominant game after halftime.

“It’s been a tough week, everyone’s lives turned upside down, but we made a point of getting on with it and needed to show that in the first half,” Eels coach Brad Arthur said.

“He’s pretty good Reedy, threw some nice passes, helped out the young halves and steadied the ship, took a fair bit of responsibility and brought the energy.”

Suspended for Queensland’s Origin Game 3 win on Wednesday, Fifita arrived at Cbus Super Stadium fresh but, despite narrowly missing out on a try-scoring double, was subbed in the first half and finished with just 69 metres from nine runs.

David Fifita of the Titans in action

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The Eels were without Blues prop Junior Paulo but a long-range Dylan Brown try broke the shackles in the ninth minute, before Titans forward Kevin Proctor tipped Isaiah Papali’i dangerously in a tackle and was sent to the bin.

The brief one-man advantage was all the visitors needed, Shaun Lane and Mahoney scoring easy tries and Moses’ replacement Haze Dunster scooping up a Clint Gutherson kick to make it three inside five minutes.

Titans coach Justin Holbrook lamented an early missed chance and Proctor’s sin-bin, which in his view was a case of the punishment not fitting the crime.

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“Two years ago if you go down to 12 you kick the ball into touch, waste time, slow it down. Now it’s just a penalty and you get on with it and everyone forgets,” he said.

“You don’t look like you’re trying but you are, you’re just gassed and the other team aren’t.”

Holbrook took some joy from the Titans winning the second half, Ash Taylor’s cut-out pass hitting Brian Kelly on the chest for their first points.

Fifita then popped up – he had made just five runs in 35 minutes of game time – in the 66th minute before a would-be double was overruled on the full-time buzzer.

Captain Jamal Fogarty left the field with a finger injury while Phil Sami earlier limped off in agony with what appeared to be an ankle injury.

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