It was a tiring clash for the most part, the entertaining part of the game well and truly over after the first ten minutes - the Titans managed to rush to a 14-0 lead early after Luke Bailey and Chris Walker both managed tries as well as a penalty goal to Scott Prince.
Stunned, the Eels defence finally steeled itself and then the visitors struck back late in the half with two tries of their own, first Joe Galuvao helping himself to a four-pointer, before a poor kick from returning Titans' five-eighth Mat Rogers gave the Eels a chance to play some razzle-dazzle as they linked up across the park for 90 metres, Daniel Mortimer finishing off the movement. Inu's goalkicking was put in the spotlight after a second consecutive miss - both kicks not from terribly difficult positions and would have had the Parramatta faithful wondering why Luke Burt didn't assume duty.
The second half started with Eric Grothe going in out wide for the Eels, reducing the gap to two. A war of attrition ensued, but slowly descended into an error-riddled finish as both teams struggled to handle the dewy ball. The Titans put a six-point buffer on again when David Mead went over out wide following an Eels error in their own half, with the remaining fifteen minutes devoted to the visiting side attempting to cross the line with no luck.
The Eels will head home for another dose of Monday night footy next week, hosting the Storm in a clash that could get ugly if they don't lift. The Titans on the other hand have a very short turnaround, they take part in Friday's Double Header against the Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium.
Match Details Gold Coast Titans 18 def Parramatta Eels 12 Round 18 - Monday July 13th, 2009 07:00pm Venue: Skilled Park, Robina Qld Referee: Steve Lyons & Matt Cecchin Sideline Officials: Daniel Eastwood & Gavin Morris Video Referee: Steve Clark Crowd: 14,840 Halftime: Titans 14 Eels 8
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Scott Prince (Titans) 2 Points: Mat Rogers (Titans) 1 Point: Nathan Cayless (Eels)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Talk about the game as it happens - Titans v Eels forum discussion - click here!
Team news: for the Titans, Preston Campbell is out, meaning William Zilllman moves to fullback and David Mead to the bench.
TITANS: 17. William Zillman 2. Kevin Gordon 3. Esi Tonga 4. Brett Delaney 5. Chris Walker 6. Mat Rogers 7. Scott Prince (c) 8. Luke Bailey 9. Nathan Friend 10. Michael Henderson 11. Anthony Laffranchi 12. Mark Minichiello 13. Brad Meyers Interchange: 14. Matt White 15. Will Matthews 16. Daniel Conn 18. David Mead EELS: 1. Luke Burt 2. Krisnan Inu 3. Joel Reddy 21. Jonathan Wright 5. Eric Grothe 6. Daniel Mortimer 7. Jeff Robson 8. Nathan Cayless (c) 9. Matthew Keating 10. Fuifui Moimoi 11. Nathan Hindmarsh 12. Joe Galuvao 13. Todd Lowrie Interchange: 4. Ben Smith 14. Kevin Kingston 15. Broderick Wright 17. Tim Mannah
This is the fist time these two have met at Skilled Park. The Titans have won both previous clashes overall, and are warm favourites to make it three-out-of-three (they're in fourth place coming into tonight, the Eels are in 14th).
Out come the sides, and we're just about ready to go...
2nd min: TRY Gold Coast Titans Well, the Titans sure don't waste any time! After Brett Delaney recovers a loose Parramatta ball, and in the ensuing set of six, Prince's grubber kick comes off the upright and is recovered by Luke Baley for a try Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful. Gold Coast Titans 6-0
8th min: PENALTY GOAL Gold Coast Titans Kicked by Prince from right in front. Prince won the penalty somewhat dodgily, as Krisnan Inu was busted for a late hit on Prince as he kicked it. However, a look at the replay show that it quite arguable was a legal hit. Gold Coast Titans 8-0
10th min: TRY Gold Coast Titans Rogers offloads to put Tonga in a hole, but the Eels make the tackle. On the next play, however, they go totally left-to-right, ending with Delaney putting Walker in in the right-hand corner. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful from the sideline! Gold Coast Titans 14-0
11th min: Possibly a real pounding on the cards here...
21st min: Titans win a repeat set of six off an unusualy intercept, but Prince's kick is blocked on the last tackle
23rd min: Repeat set of six for Parramatta inside the Titan 20...
35 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Daniel Mortimer scores for the Eels following a poor kick at the other end from Mat Rogers. The Eels link it up as they run the length, finishing with the young five-eighth. Conversion attempt by Krisnan Inu unsuccessful. Gold Coast Titans 14-8
HALFTIME: Titans 14 Eels 8
Second half underway...
60 min: A number of up-field raids by both sides have resulted in little points since Parramatta's last try.
65 min: Attacking lines standing very flat as the game wears on. Brad Meyers with a big gash in his face, blood streaming down his bushranger-type beard.
67 min: A knock-on inside their own half could hurt the Eels here, a chance for points now.
71 min: Tryscorer David Mead finds himself on the end of another raid down the flank but he can't handle Brad Meyers' final pass and the ball rolls into touch out of his hands. The Eels on halfway with a chance now.
73 min: No result with a grubber on tackle three well wrapped up by Zillman. The Titans complete their set and get a good kick away.
75 min: The clock is ticking for Parramatta who seem to be playing some panic footy, deep in their own half too. They make it over halfway but Mortimer drops it on the fourth.
77 min: Ben Smith puts it on the toe for Parramatta on the last but the grubbing kick rolls into touch just before the corner post. Could well have been the Eels' last chance unless they can force a Titans error in this return set. Titans scrum feed.
79 min: The Eels with their last set of the game from their own half. Luke Burt can't take a Nathan Hindmarsh offload and that looks like it will be it with 40 seconds on the clock.