TITANS 12 ROOSTERS 18
Brave ... injured Rooster Frank-Paul Nuuausala. Photo: Getty Images
NEW ZEALAND Test forward Frank-Paul Nuuausala played 25 minutes of the Roosters' gritty win against Gold Coast last night with a broken jaw.
The news of the 25-year-old's ordeal emerged as an afterthought to an afterthought last night, Sydney Roosters beating Gold Coast in a game better suited to the cliche "ugly win" than most.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves of the Roosters charges at the Titans defence. Photo: Getty Images
Coach Brian Smith informed media of the injury, which will rule Nuuausala out of the Anzac Test, when asked the customary "any injuries, coach" question as he was almost out the door following the formal press conference.
After comforting the veteran of nine Tests in the sheds, Smith told the Sun-Herald: "It was in the first tackle of the game - he got a whack on the side of the face.
"The physio went to him and spoke to him about it. He's obviously sore and in some level of discomfort. We replaced him during the half but at half-time the doctor told us he was not right to continue.
"He sat on the bench, but he was never going back on."
Nuuausala went for X-rays last night. Gold Coast have lost 11 of their past 12 home games and at times last night the Titans fans in the 11,478 crowd were out-shouted by a rowdy flock of travelling Roosters.
This was a match that started with a helter-skelter flurry - Rooster Shaun Kenny-Dowall scored the first of his two tries and Gold Coast winger David Mead literally flew over the try line in the first 22 minutes - and then fell into a deep ditch from an entertainment point of view.
It was 6-6 at the half-time break and stayed that way until the 55th minute, when Braith Anasta kicked ahead for Kenny-Dowall to get his second and - 60 seconds later - Anthony Minichiello crossed untouched off an inside ball from Mitchell Pearce.
The Titans' rearguard action consisted of Mead's second try off William Zillman's pass with seven minutes left and a bomb after full-time which, if spilt by Minichiello, could have meant golden point. "I started to think how brave you've got to be to play footy - sometimes you've got to be that to watch it," Smith said. "We showed some passages where we were at our best, but we just didn't do that long enough."
Former Rooster Nate Myles made 46 tackles and had 15 hit-ups while Jamal Idris made a commanding return from a hamstring injury, smashing Anasta at one point and preventing a certain try with a big hit on Pearce.
Titans coach John Cartwright said: "I can't worry about the season slipping away. We're disappointed with this result [but] if I worry about the season, I'm not going to worry about what's up next week. We've played not as well in previous seasons and won. There's little things that went against us.
"I wanted to get [Myles] off at some stage, but he didn't want to. You could tell how much he wanted to win. [Idris] was on and off at the advice of the medical staff.
''They were worried about him fatiguing and re-tearing the hamstring.''
Titans captain Scott Prince said a poor completion rate "plays a role in us playing a bit brain-dead". "We're willing to turn up," he insisted. "I think it was evident tonight that the boys were committed and showed a lot of heart just to hang in there."
SYDNEY ROOSTERS 18 (S Kenny-Dowall 2 A Minichiello tries B Anasta 3 goals) bt GOLD COAST 12 (D Mead 2 tries S Prince 2 goals) at Skilled Park. Referee: Chris James, Brett Suttor. Crowd: 11,478.