Justin Holbrook made major changes to his side as the Gold Coast Titans looked to overcome a good Wests Tigers side, and put an end to nearly 12 months without a victory.
The Tigers were the most comfortable on the ball in the early stages of the game, and after a set restart late in the tackle count, Harry Grant exploited the game in behind the ruck and combined with Luke Brooks to put the home side on the front foot.
The next tackle, Benji Marshall stepped and turned the ball back inside to Adam Doueihi who did just enough in the tackle by Phillip Sami to ground the ball.
The lead was doubled out of nowhere as Ash Taylor took the ball to the line for the Titans and threw a miss pass which was plucked out of the air by David Nofoaluma who sauntered in and dotted down under the posts.
Benji Marshall converted both for a 12-0 lead after 15 minutes.
After a huge 40/20 from Ash Taylor that nearly resulted in a try for Anthony Don, the Titans were searching for a try to keep themselves in the game.
A few tackles later, Erin Clark to the ball to the line and popped onto Kevin Proctor who beat the legs tackle of Harry Grant and score.
The Titans were in the ascendency and managed to force multiple goal-line drop-outs from Wests as they tried to level the scores before the break.
They thought they had levelled with 14 minutes to go as Anthony Don climbed feet above Robert Jennings to collect the high bomb from Taylor.
After a review from The Bunker, the score was confirmed and Taylor converted to make it 12-12.
The Tigers took back control of the game towards the end of the half but couldn’t quite regain the lead after forcing a goal-line drop-out.
On the buzzer, the Titans were close to taking a one-point lead into the break but the drop-goal attempt from Taylor was inches wide of the mark.
HALF-TIME: Wests Tigers 12-12 Gold Coast Titans
It took the Tigers just over a minute to score their third try with their first set of the half.
After a high bomb from Luke Brooks was allowed to bound, the ball was shifted out wide to Robert Jennings, who then flung the ball over his shoulder without looking.
Luckily for the Tigers, it found Harry Grant, who shifted the ball right back through Benji Marshall, who released Nofoaluma down the right. With space running out, the winger scuffed his kick inside and into the hands of Joey Leilua who scored in a wonderful team try from the Tigers.
Nofoaluma and Doueihi once again combined to pick up the fourth try.
After Marshall and Brooks both struggled to get a kick away, the full-back found himself with the ball in a hand and put a speculative kick over into the corner. Nofoaluma rose above Dale Copley and scored without anyone around him.
After an error from Harry Grant, the Titans set up with a scrum 20 metres from the Wests try line and a few tackles later, Tyrone Peachey took the ball to the line and gave the ball onto Keegan Hipgrave who busted his way under the posts.
With 20 minutes of the game remaining, it was 18-22 to the Tigers.
The score looked to be level just minutes later as Tyrone Peachey’s high bomb was left to bounce by the Tigers back three, and the ball bounced towards to try-line.
Anthony Don and Adam Doueihi chased after it, but both seemed to miss the ball before Jai Arrow dotted the ball down just before it hit the dead-ball line.
However, after review, the ball was touched by Don and Wests escaped with a seven-tackle set.
The Titans were back on the Tigers goal-line within minutes though and picked up multiple back-to-back sets. They rushed the play though and the ball was dropped by Jaimin Jolliffe and, once again, Wests held firm.
With the game entering the final ten minutes, the Gold Coast finally levelled up the game as a deft kick from Taylor was perfectly weighted and bounced into the hands of the dicing Brian Kelly to score in the left-hand corner.
Taylor failed to convert from the touchline, but with eight minutes left, the game was in the balance.
After another knock-on from the Tigers under the high ball, The Gold Coast were hunting for a match-winning try. However, Anthony Don was bundled into touch after plucking yet another high ball out the air.
With three minutes on the clock, Wests found themselves 20-metres from the Titans posts, and Benji Marshall struck a beautiful drop-goal to give his side a one-point lead.
The Titans managed to regain the ball through Brian Kelly at the restart just after it bounced beyond the ten metres.
At the end of the resulting set, the ball found Kelly again who kicked along the ground back infield to the onrushing Phillip Sami who grounded for a Titans lead.
Taylor converted to make it 27-23 with a minute remaining.
The Titans managed to grab the Tigers kick-off and closed the game out.
This was the Titans first victory in just under a year and off the bottom of the table.
FULL-TIME: Gold Coast Titans 28-23 Wests Tigers
Gold Coast Titans
Sami, Kelly, Copley, Tonumaipea, Don, Taylor, Fogarty, Fotuaika, E. Clark, Lisone, Proctor, Cartwright, Arrow.
Interchanges: Peachey, Hipgrave, Boyd, Joliffe
Tries: Proctor, Don, Hipgrave, Kelly, Sami
Goals: Taylor (4/5)
Doueihi, Nofoaluma, J. Leilua, Mbye, Jennings, Marshall, Brooks, Aloiai, Grant, Mikaele, Garner, L. Leilua, Twal
Interchanges: O. Clark, Walters, Lawrence, Seyfarth
Tries: Doueihi, Nofoaluma(2), J. Leilua
Goals: Marshall (3/4)
Referee: A. Gee
Touch Judges: J. Stone, K. Badget
Video Referee: B. Galea
Image Source: @telegraph_sport (Twitter)