The Wests Tigers have come away with a tenacious one-point victory in a spiteful clash at Campbelltown Stadium, defeating the Gold Coast Titans 15-14 in front of over 14,000 fans.
It was a great start for the Gold Coast with Wade McKinnon providing an error for Mat Rogers to score the first try, the Titans 6-0 leaders early. Ten minutes on, Robbie Farah with some brilliant lead-up work created a try for Mitch Brown, who had been called in to fill the gap left by Chris Lawrence following the omission of Robert Lui.
From there on in, it was an arm wrestle. Both sides traded penalty goals after giving away niggly penalties - before one of the moments of the season took over. With less than sixty seconds before the break, Benji Marshall took the ball on halfway and booted a phenomenal field goal from the halfway line, which hit the crossbar and went over. The Tigers went to the lead 9-8 as a result, and with a try a-piece in the second half, ultimately it proved the matchwinner.
Robbie Farah's creative genius from hooker was a standout all match, despite his involvement in a second-half stink which saw Titans' second-rower Mark Minichiello sin-binned. Preston Campbell stood out for the Titans but they just couldn't get over the final line. Credit to their defence in the second half as the Tigers dominated territory yet only managed one try through their line.
Next week the Wests Tigers host Monday Night Footy in the NRL Rivlary Round, when they face 2005 Grand Final combatants the Cowboys at Leichhardt. The Titans will host the Broncos at Skilled in their second local derby of the season next Friday night.
Wests Tigers 15 defeated Gold Coast Titans 14
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 18 - Friday July 9, 2010 7:35pm
Venue: Campbelltown Sports Stadium
Referee: Jason Robinson and Alan Shortall
Video Referee: Bill Harrigan
Touch Judges: Steve Carrall and Daniel Eastwood
Halftime: Wests Tigers 9 Gold Coast Titans 8
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Robbie Farah
2 Points - Preston Campbell
1 Point - Benji Marshall (2 Conversions, 1 Penalty Goal, 1 Field Goal)
WESTS TIGERS (15)
Tries: Mitch Brown, Blake Ayshford
Field Goals: Benji Marshall (1/1)
Conversions: Benji Marshall (2/2)
Penalty Goals: Benji Marshall (1/1)
GOLD COAST TITANS (14)
Tries: Mat Rogers, Kevin Gordon
Conversions: Mat Rogers (2/2)
Penalty Goals: Mat Rogers (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Pre Game: Wests Tigers are expected to be without Robert Lui for the clash. Marshall to half, Lawrence to five-eighth, Daniela to centre and Mitch Brown coming onto the wing is the expected reshuffle. For the Titans, Scott Prince will play, with the line-up 1-17 as announced.
As expected, Lui is out with the aforementioned reshuffle taking place.
1 min: TRY
Wade McKinnon spills an attacking grubber in the in-goal area and Mat Rogers appears to have gone over. Try is awarded. Great start for the Titans.
Gold Coast Titans 6-0
10 min: Back and forth action here. Tigers get their first chance at the ten minute mark after a soft penalty is given on half-way.
11 min: Lawrence gets in space but pushes the pass a little too hard and McKinnon puts it down.
15 min: TRY
Brown goes over after some fantastic lead-up work by Robbie Farah. Farah chip and chases for himself, forcing Campbell to spill it into the arms of Blake Ayshford. Ayshford shows great strength to carry two players to within metres of the try-line. Off the next play after a ball is spilled backwards, Farah picks it up and goes out wide and a deft little kick puts Brown over in the corner.
20 min: Bird absolutely hammer Marshall forcing an error. Bird is in terrific touch early on here.
22 min: PENALTY GOAL
Bryce Gibbs hits Scott Prince after a kick causing a little flare up. Titans will go for two.
Gold Coast Titans 8-6
35 min: PENALTY GOAL
Game has become an arm wrestle. Tigers opt to lock up the score.
36 min: Benji Marshall puts up a nothing kick and bombs a great attacking opportunity. Shocker there.
40 min: FIELD GOAL
Oh my God. Benji Marshall just kicked a field goal from halfway. That was the best field goal I have ever seen. Unbias of course.
Wests Tigers 9-8
40 min: Great first half. It's fair that the only thing that has split these teams has been the greatest field goal I have ever seen.
41 min: Underway here. Should be an amazing second forty.
42 min: Payten does well to pick up and turn around Preston back into the in-goal area. Line drop out.
44 min: Lote times his run wrong and a cross field bomb comes to naught. Titans working it out of their end now.
48 min: Ayshford puts down a certain try! Titans survive again.
49 min: Farah attacking grubber goes dead just before Ayshford arrives. Close call again.
53 min: Kevin Gordon does amazingly well to avoid being pushed into the in-goal area.
56 min: The Titans are doing very well to hold on here. The Tigers have had all the field position this half so far.
58 min: All in brawl from the scrum here! Punches being thrown everywhere.
59 min: Minichello has been sin-binned.
60 min: Titans defense is great there. 12 defenders and they hold out on their own line.
62 min: Marshall puts in another nothing kick to let the Titans off the hook.
65 min: Lote Tuqiri comes up with a one on one strip thirty out.
65 min: Tigers cross finally after the Titans absorb amazing amounts of pressure.
66 min: TRY
Gold Coast finally crack after absorbing great pressure. Ayshford crosses in the corner. Benji kicks it from the sideline.
Wests Tigers 15-8
70 min: TRY
Great try! Titans cross in the left corner after a perfect Scott Prince grubber. Gordon continues his rich vein of try scoring form.
Wests Tigers 15-14
75 min: Titans were away but it's called back because of a forward pass and are marched ten for abusing the referee. This game is tense!
79 min: Amazing final stanza here. The Titans have pushed but the Tigers defense has been good. The Tigers have a scrum feed with a minute on the clock thirty out.
80 min: Tigers win here. Amazing game. Almost game of the season.