The Gold Coast Titans welcomed Cronulla Sharks to Cbus Super Stadium, as both sides looked to build on the back of impressive wins last round.
The Titans looked as though they were the first on the board as Ash Taylor’s kick ricocheted off a Sharks defender, and off the hands of Tyrone Peachey, which was then picked up by Corey Thompson.
Thompson then beat multiple tackles, and powered his way, twisting and turning over the line to score.
However, Peachey was deemed to have knocked-on in the build-up, and Thompson’s hard work was not rewarded.
With ten minutes gone, the scoreline remained nil-nil.
That was until Braden Hamlin-Uele managed to break through the legs tackle from Jai Arrow, with momentum taking the big man over the try-line to give Cronulla the lead.
The Sharks should have doubled their lead just after the 20th minute, as Matt Moylan took the ball to the line, and popped it onto Jack Williams who looked to crash through a huge gap in the Gold Coast defence.
Unfortunately, the loose-forward couldn’t claim the ball and dropped it cold.
Corey Thompson then turned defence into attack to level the scores against the run of play.
The Sharks got their attacking play wrong once again, and Thompson picked up the loose ball 15-metres from his own line, and the winger outpaced Sione Katoa to dot down for his first try in Titans colours.
With ten minutes to go until the break, both sides lost a key player as Matt Moylan looked to reinjure his hamstring, with Mitch Rein also picking up a leg injury for the Titans.
A few minutes later, the Sharks shifted the ball to the left-edge to Wade Graham, who showed his class with a deft pass back inside to Andrew Fifita and stretch his arm down to dot the ball on the line.
After a charging run from Beau Fermor, the Titan’s moved the ball quickly from left to right, ending in Tyrone Roberts putting Anthony Don in space on the outside, with the winger stepping to the outside of the covering Chad Townsend to dive over to score.
The Titans should have picked up a quickfire double as Fermor made another break down the left.
All the debutant had to do was pass inside to Ash Taylor, but the young man opted to go outside and Tyrone Peachey couldn’t claim the ball and knocked on.
HALF-TIME: Gold Coast Titans 10-12 Cronulla Sharks
Just two minutes into the second half, the Sharks picked up their third of the night as Shaun Johnson skipped across to line to commit Ash Taylor into the tackle, with his opposite number off-balance, Johnson popped the ball to Briton Niukore who walked over to score.
Anthony Don then looked to turn the game on its head as he kicked through, and then kicked on once more to regather and pass inside to Keegan Hipgrave, who should have scored.
Unfortunately for the home side, Sione Katoa’s last-ditch attempt stopped them in their tracks.
In the very next attacking set for the Sharks, Johnson stepped off his right foot to leave Tanah Boyd on the floor and then offloaded back inside to Blayke Brailey to slam the ball down and extend the lead.
Just before the hour mark, Cronulla put the game to bed as Chad Townsend exploited the weak right-hand side defence of the Gold Coast to break the tackle of Jaimin Joliffe and step inside Tyrone Roberts to score.
The Titans looked to hit back though as they camped inside the Sharks 20-metre line, however, Cronulla held firm and managed to close up shop after a solid defensive spell.
After holding firm, the Sharks continued their assault on the Gold Coast line, with Royce Hunt receiving a short ball from Brailey direct from the ruck and the prop-forward busted through three Titans defenders for his first NRL try.
The seventh Cronulla try came with four minutes remaining, as Townsend’s looping pass out to Bryson Goodwin was perfectly weighted, and the experienced winger walked into the corner.
The last moments of the game ended with the ball in the hands of the Sharks, with Hamlin-Uele being tackled on the hooter.
FULL-TIME: Gold Coast Titans 10-40 Cronulla Sharks
Gold Coast Titans
Roberts, Thompson, Peachey, Cartwright, Don, Taylor, Fogarty, Fotuaika, Rein, Jolliffe, Hipgrave, Fermor, Arrow.
Interchanges: Boyd, Lisone, Wallace, Clark
Tries: Thompson, Don
Goals: Taylor (1/2)
Moylan, Katoa, Dugan, Ramien, Goodwin, Johnson, Townsend, Woods, Brailey, Hamlin-Uele, Nikora, Graham, Williams
Interchanges: Fifita, Rudolf, Talakai, Hunt
Tries: Hamlin-Uele, Fifita, Niukore, Brailey, Townsend, Hunt, Goodwin
Goals: Johnson (6/7)
Referee: C. Sutton
Touch Judges: J. Stone, L. Kennedy
Video Referee: B. Galea
Image Source: @NRL (Twitter)