A spirited Gold Coast Titans fell agonisingly short of delivering a farewell gift to departing coach John Cartwright in losing 26-18 to the Sydney Roosters tonight at Allianz Stadium in front of a measly 6,345 fans.
It was a cold wet night and errors were plentiful from the start, the Roosters losing the ball in their first set. The Gold Coast took advantage of this with Anthony Don scoring early. The Roosters hit back fairly quickly but still trailed 6-4 after a try to skipper Anthony Minichiello went unconverted. Michael Jennings spilled the ensuing restart but the Titans didn't capitalise.
The 20th minute saw the next points, with the Roosters pushing ahead 10-6 through a try to James Maloney by the posts. Dave Taylor then jinked and stepped to score a try himself in the 27th to put the Titans back in the lead... before it all changed hands back to the Roosters again through Nene Macdonald.
It looked like the Roosters would carry the lead into halftime until Greg Bird supported Kevin Gordon off a high-ball on the siren and scored - Aidan Sezer's conversion putting the Titans back in front 18-16 at the change of ends.
Video Referee breaks and drop balls punctuated the early parts of the second half, although to be fair the heavens opened at halftime creating a slippery environment. The Roosters broke the duck in the 48th minute to head back into the lead. They held onto a slender two point lead til the 70th minute when a try to Jennings out wide allowed them to extend to six points clear. A late penalty goal sealed the result despite a number of scares.
Next week the Roosters hop on the light rail for a trip to Lilyfield when they face the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval, while the Titans head home for their first game of the post-Cartwright era... it doesn't get any easier either. They host Manly next Sunday at Cbus Super Stadium.