Despite plenty of injuries, the Sydney Roosters still fielded an extremely strong side as they welcomed a Gold Coast Titans side still looking for consistency in their performances.
The Titans were the fastest to start as on just their second possession, Brian Kelly offloaded the ball to Ash Taylor, who then released Jamal Fogarty to outpace James Tedesco and score.
However, Kelly’s ball-carrying arm had already touched the ground, making him held so the try was disallowed and the Roosters were awarded a penalty.
In the Roosters next set, the Titans were penalised for offside inside their own 10-metre line, which allowed Kyle Flanagan the opportunity to kick the two points for an early lead for Sydney.
In the tenth minute, the Titans crossed once again as Dale Copley made a break down the right-hand side and as he ran out of space kicked back inside for the onrushing AJ Brimson and Anthony Don.
Brimson was taken out by Tedesco as the Titans full-back attempt to collect the ball, but that didn’t stop Don from cleaning up and grounding the ball for the lead.
Five minutes the later, the Roosters should have crossed themselves as they moved the ball right from a 10-metre scrum, and Tedesco looked to released Joseph Manu but the centre was taken off the ball by Brian Kelly and failed to claim the ball.
Due to Ikuvalu not scoring the try, Kelly was sin-binned, but once again the Roosters took the two points to level up the scores.
In the 20th minute, the Roosters began to play some more expansive rugby and seemed to knock the ball, which was not noticed by referee Henry Perenara, and after Manu was tackled two metres from the line, attacked the short side.
Tedesco picked the ball up at first receiver and pushed the ball to Mitchell Aubusson who dived over to score in the corner.
The Titans looked to have pulled themselves back into the game, as Brimson and Phillip Sami both broke through midfield.
This gave Don space to make more metres down the right-hand side, and pass back inside to Sam, but the Titans centre was held up after Manu came from the other side of the field to make a try-saving tackle.
After plenty of hard-work to pepper the Roosters line, Fogarty kicked through on the fifth tackle, but Brimson couldn’t quite gather the ball and the score remained 10-4.
Errors started to come from both sides, as the ball remained in midfield, but the Titans would get the ball back in the finals seconds of the half.
Despite the ball being shifted wide and ultimately into touch, the Roosters were offside, and Ash Taylor opted to kick for goal and narrow the gap at the break, and duly delivered.
HALF-TIME: Sydney Roosters 10-6 Gold Coast Titans
The opening stages of the second half were quite level but it was the Roosters who had the first chance as Luke Keary kicked through, and with Collins chasing the home side should have scored.
Unfortunately for Sydney, Collins was taken off the ball by Keagan Hipgrave before he got the chance to ground the ball.
The Roosters once again took the two points but Flanagan failed with from the tee.
Further ill-discipline from the Gold Coast put Sydney back in good field position but also allowed Flanagan to add another two points with the boot.
With an hour of the game gone, the Titans were still only six points behind.
That changed when Keary kicked high towards the posts and Manu climbed higher than any Titans defender and held off Kelly before grounding the ball.
With five minutes to go, the Titans had worked their way deep inside the Roosters half, and Jai Arrow and Taylor combined to give the ball to Sami, who then stepped inside the covering James Tedesco to score.
Taylor then converted to make it 18-12 with four minutes to go.
In the final minute of the play, Gold Coast had their hands on the ball but Taylor’s high kick couldn’t be claimed and the Roosters held on.
FULL-TIME: Sydney Roosters 18-12 Gold Coast Titans
Tedesco, Hall, Manu, Tupouniua, Ikuvalu, Keary, Flanagan, Waerea-Hargreaves, Friend, Taukeiaho, Aubusson, Butcher, Liu
Interchanges: Lam, Faamausili, Collins, Fifita
Tries: Aubsson, Manu
Goals: Flanagan (5/6)
Gold Coast Titans
Brimson, Don, Kelly, Copley, Sami, Taylor, Fogarty, Fotuaika, Peats, Jolliffe, Proctor, Hipgrave, Arrow
Interchanges: Boyd, Peachey, Wallace, Stone
Tries: Don, Sami
Goals: Taylor (2/3)
Sin-Bins: Kelly, Hipgrave
Referee: H. Perenara
Touch Judges: K. Badger, D. Oultram
Video Referee: B. Lowe
Image Source: @NRL (Twitter)