Rugby League

Sea Eagles hold off spirited Titans in see-sawing clash

April 21, 2024 6:34 am

[Source: NRL]

A Tom Trbojevic double helped Manly to overcome a spirited Titans outfit and deny their former coach Des Hasler his first win since taking charge of the club this season.

In a see-sawing match at Cbus Super Stadium, in which the lead changed seven times, the Sea Eagles ran out 34-30 winners to inflict Gold Coast’s sixth loss of the season and Hasler’s 13th consecutive defeat as a coach since July 16, 2022.

Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans had a rare off night with the boot, putting a kick out on the full and enabling the Titans to gain two seven tackle sets by kicking into the in-goal on the full.

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After a spirited and controversial loss to Canberra last weekend, the hopes of the Titans achieving their first win of the season against the Sea Eagles appeared unlikely after just eight minutes.

Trbojevic opened the scoring after dummying and stepping inside Brian Kelly for his first try and the Sea Eagles found space on their right edge again for Jason Saab to cross in the corner.

However, the Titans hit back through Alofiana Khan-Pereira as Kieran Foran stamped his mark on the game with a long, looping pass for the unmarked winger to score in the 14th minute.

Khan-Pereira then grabbed his second try just five minutes later after Foran held up a pass to send centre Brian Kelly racing away before passing to his winger to score and Tanah Boyd’s conversion gave the Titans a 12-10 lead.

Strike forward Haumole Olakau’atu put the visitors back in front when he crashed over in the 25th minute but the injection of David Fifita from the interchange had an immediate impact after he scored from dummy half.

AJ Brimson, who was playing at fullback due to injuries to Jayden Campbell and Phillip Sami, then extended Gold Coast’s lead when he soared above Trbojevic to snatch a banana kick by Foran and score.

However, Trbojevic made amends to reduce the Manly’s halftime deficit to 24-22 when he sent Saab racing down the touchline and backed up on the inside to score in the 39th minute.

The Sea Eagles started the second half like they did the first when speedster Tolutau Koula intercepted a Tannah Boyd pass and sprinted 60 metres to score in the 44th minute.

However, the game continued to see-saw, with Brimson putting Boyd over in the 53rd minute and Ethan Bullemor replying just two minutes later to give Manly a 34-30 lead.

Both teams had chances to score more points in the latter stages of the match but were unable to do so and the Sea Eagles hung on to record their fourth win of the season.