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Knights edged out by desperate Titans

Match highlights: Round 11

In a high scoring match, the nib Newcastle Knights couldn't take down the Gold Coast Titans, with a 33-26 win at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Again, it was a slow start from the Knights as they conceded an early try but despite some brilliance from Kalyn Ponga with a length of the field try, the Titans kept coming back to finally secure the win in the final five minutes.

There was an early penalty against the Knights after Taylor was tackled following the kick, but the visitors were able to capitalise on a mistake from the home side and gained back possession.

A mistake from Josh King saw the Titans win the scrum feed and down the other end, a high ball couldn't be controlled by Kalyn Ponga, as the Gold Coast picked up the crumbs for Phillip Sami to find space on the left edge to slide over for the first try of the day.

Fullback Michael Gordon slotted the conversion from the sideline and it was 6-0 to the Titans after almost 10 minutes.

Ponga displayed some of his trademark footwork to almost push through to the line but was caught five metres out and it was back in Titans possession.

Luck went the Knights way in the 20th minute as defensive pressure forced an error, but in a rare moment Newcastle lost the ball in the scrum feed before the visitors gave away another penalty to see Gordon nail the kick. It was an 8-0 lead to the Titans.

To the ring of a Newcastle chant in the crowd, the Knights got the ball out of dummy half, as it passed through the hands of Connor Watson before being off-loaded to Sione Mata'utia.

He stepped off the left foot to sprint 10-metres to the line and get the first try for the red and blue. Brock Lamb booted the conversion to get it back to a two-point ball game.

In a wave of gusto from Newcastle, they drove the ball closer to the Titans line and after a run of penalties, Lamb opted to take the kick and easily slotted it from out in front to level the score line to 8-all with eight minutes to go on the clock.

Soon after play was stopped when Jacob Saifiti went down after a hit; the big forward carted from the field, to see veteran forward Jacob Lillyman take the field.

With two-minutes before halftime, a penalty close to the line saw Taylor flick it out the back to Titans centre Dale Copley who dived over on the left edge. Gordon missed the conversion and the Gold Coast were back in-front, to head into the break, 12-8.

In the second half, just two minutes in and Moeaki Fotuaika was sent to the sin bin for continuous sloppy defence, and off the back of quick play from Griffin, Knights forward Herman Ese'ese charged through to cross over for their second. Lamb didn't miss, and it was a Knights lead, 14-12.

But the Titans returned fire with a three-on-two attack on the left edge, as Copley flicked it to Sami who finished with the try to record the double 47 minutes in. Gordon added the extras to see the home side back in the lead, 18-14.

The referees weren't having any of the defensive tactics from the Titans and it was Jarrod Wallace to be sent to the bin this time, with 11 Gold Coast men left on the field, but the Knights couldn't take advantage of the opportunity and it was back in Titans hands.

In the 57th minute, from right to left, Ponga threw the cut away pass to Nathan Ross who dished off to Ken Sio out wide to finish with the dive over try. Lamb maintained his perfect kicking record and nailed another from the sideline to see Newcastle lead, 20-18.

And minutes later in an unbelievable play, Sio picked it up metres from the dead ball line and gave it off to Ponga who stepped his way past one defender and broke numerous tackles to record an impressive length of the field try.

Lamb continued his accuracy and kicked four from four to stretch the Knights lead to 26-18.

But a mistake from Daniel Saifiti minutes later gave the Titans possession 20 metres from the line and they went right to find Brenko Lee who strolled over for the try. A Taylor conversion made it 26-24, to Newcastle.

A high tackle by Watson was penalised by the referees and Taylor decided to take the kick 35-metres out and he levelled the scores, 26-all, after 68 minutes.

An off-side penalty gifted the Titans another free kick and Taylor again went for the two points but lucky for Newcastle he kicked it dead with just over five minutes to go.

But soon after, the Titans grabbed a stray ball off the high kick and it landed in the hands of Alexander Brimson who went over for his first NRL try. Taylor was successful on the conversion and it was the Gold Coast back in front, 32-26.

In the 78th minute, Taylor decided to seal the deal with a field goal to put them seven points ahead and they were able to hold off the Knights, as the Titans broke their five-game losing streak to win, 33-26.


Knights 26 (T: Mata'utia, Ese'ese, Sio, Ponga G: Lamb 4/4, PG: Lamb 1/1)
Titans 33 (T: Sami 2, Copley, Lee, Brimson G: Gordon 2/3, Taylor 2/2, PG: Gordon 1/1, Taylor 1/2, FG: Taylor 1/1)