Kevin Gordon of the Titans celebrates after breaking the Cowboys defensive line for a try. Photo: Getty Images
The Titans beat North Queensland 28-12 to make it three in a row and win their first home game in six attempts in 2012.
WHERE IT WAS WON
The Titans did the damage without the ball. In the first 10 minutes, they dropped it out five times and made 47 consecutive tackles. Somehow, the Cowboys couldn't convert their complete and utter dominance into a single point and from there, the Titans felt bulletproof. They rode that wave of confidence to a 12-0 halftime lead and never looked back.
Scott Prince might have just played his best game in a season and a half. The veteran halfback looked like he was 20 again tonight, leading his side in every respect and dancing up a merry storm to baffle the Cowboys on more than one occasion. His brilliant footwork to set up Greg Bird before halftime was the play of the night.
HOME SWEET HOME - AT LAST
After five attempts, the Titans finally get a win on their home ground. They threatened here against the Roosters and Bulldogs but didn't get the job done. Tonight, they were ruthless and played with pace and quality. After firing all their guns in the first 10 minutes, the Cowboys weren't in the game. Both of their tries came at the end when their outcome was already decided.
The Gold Coast has been battered from pillar to post this season, on and off the field, but this performance shows they are a potential top eight side. If they can play with that sort of intensity and creativity every week, they are going to take some beating. Origin players Greg Bird, Nate Myles and Ash Harrison were enormous. Harrison made four tackles in a row before scoring a very deserving try.
FLAT AS A TACK
Give credit to the Titans defence but the Cowboys never really threw enough in their direction. Cheap kicks were easily dealt with and the big guns of Bowen, Tate and Thurston were kept in check all night. They won't spent too long reviewing this one.
FULLTIME Titans 28 Cowboys 12.
79th min Junktime TRY for the Cowboys. Jason Taumalolo scores. They trail 28-10. That was uncalled for this late in the evening.
78th min The Titans just easing this one out. Lots and lots of positives from the Titans tonight so John Cartwright finally gets to walk into a press conference here without looking as if he just backed over the family dog. Titans 28 Cowboys 6.
76th min Prince makes the shot. It's 28-6 and finally the Titans get one at home. I reckon this has been their best win of the season. Surely that will get some bums on seats in coming weeks.
74th min Beau Champion puts an exclamation mark on the night with a TRY for the Titans. That's his second and it's 26-6 with Prince lining up his kick. Too easy in the end and that Cowboys comeback was shortlived indeed.
71st min Cowboys cough it up and that ends whatever momentum they had going. Let's hope a win like this gets some more bums on seats on the Gold Coast. Do they want a football club here or not? The players certainly deserve after this sort of effort. They lead 22-6 and just went close again.
69th min Crowd here is 12,092. I know it's a bit wet but thats hugely disappointing for an all-Qld affair. They've missed a very, very good effort from their side tonight, although Matt Scott pinches one back for the Cowboys under the posts. That's a TRY and it's 22-6 to the Titans.
66th min Old man Prince scurries back like a Jack Russell after a tennis ball to save that ball from the mits of the chasing Matt Bowen. Tips it dead and the Gold Coast cough up another set. They'd love to get the shut out tonight but surely must be tiring. North Qld on the verge of a pants lap at this point. Titans 22 Cowboys 0.
64th min North Queensland looking about as likely as they have for 50 minutes but that last pass rightly called forward. I hope Ricky Stuart was watching that - sometimes the refs do get it right.
62nd min Prince can't weave it over from the tight angle and the Titans still lead 22-0. Time to wheel out that Temple of Boom song.
60th min The Titans bouncing out of tackles like they are superballs. Beautiful footy and they are over again! TRY to Beau Champion on the right and that is one hell of a sequence of play. Inspired rugby league and the Cowboys are out on their feet. It's Titans 22 Cowboys 0.
56th min TRY to the Titans. Srama's little grubber bounced off the post and Harrison clutched it in the fingertips, ala Greg Dowling without the sea of mud, and dives over. It's about to be 18-0. It is 18-0 and the Titans are giving them a spanking at the moment. Who said the club was dead?
56th min Hello... speaking of Harrison, up we go to the video ref.
55th min Mead launches himself to safely catch that bomb as Ash Harrison makes his was slowly back to the line. He just made four tackles in a row as Zillman carves the Cowboys up through the middle. Myles and Harrison great again tonight. Wonderful to see this pair start to get some real recognition. Titans lead 12-0.
53rd min Now the Titans having all the ball. Bird dives on it for another six after his chip rebounds off the Cowboys line. He's been superb tonight. Prince a little slow to play that ball but he's ok and waves the trainer back to his box. Idris spills it though and the Cowboys don't concede any more. They trail 12-0 and are showing precisely nought.
50th min Stop it, Scott Prince. Just stop it! Runs to the line, swerves and curves, shows and goes before putting over a little pitching wedge into the Cowboys in-goal. Bowen had no choice but to knock it dead and the Titans get a repeat set. His best game of the season by miles. It's possibly his best game of the past two seasons. Titans 12 Cowboys 0.
48th min Idris! Too soon young man! He was confronted by sparse defence and lots of open space but threw the pass to his winger about 10m too early. He's big, he's damaging but at times, has almost no game sense. Cowboys get a let-off and continue to trail 12-0.
45th min Bailey has gone to hospital, btw. His rib is not where it was when he started the evening. The good thing about Skilled Park is he can pretty much walk to hospital, if he fancies a stroll. No move in the score in the second half and the Titans have changed their tactic but trying to get their hands on the ball a few times. They lead 12-0.
41st min Reports that Luke Bailey has broken a rib and bits of it are floating around his chest. It's not a game for the more demure among our population, that's for certain. Players back out there and all ahead for the Cowboys. Titans need to maintain that energy to start this half and not give up cheap points. They lead 12-0.
HALFTIME Titans 12 Cowboys 0.
- The Titans have managed to lead at the break after weathering a barrage at the start of the game that at one stage had them making 47 tackles to zero. They had four straight drop-outs and not only held on but surged to a lead, with tries to Gordon and Bird.
- It would appear the Cowboys are being paid per kick. They've opted to put it to the boot instead of putting it through the hands on numerous occasions, all to no avail.
- It's been a while since Scott Prince was the number one playmaker in the game but he's wheeling out some vintage moves tonight. He's looking sharp as a razor and brilliantly took on the line to set up Bird. Thurston has struggled for the Cowboys. Origin hangover.
39th min Titans defenders descend on Winterstein like seagulls on a rogue chip and he's man-handled into touch. Where is the energy coming from? It's the sort of night to be on the couch watching Law and Order re-runs but the Titans are loving it out there at the moment. Can they finally get a win at home? They are 0-5 this year. Gold Coast lead 12-0.
36th min Prince makes it two from two tonight and his Titans have a 12-0 lead. That's an incredible turnaround from the first 15 minutes of this game.
35th min TRY to the Titans and Bird goes over to extend their lead. How about the set-up from Scott Prince. Goodness me, young fella. Prince just wound back the clock there to completely mesmerise the Cowboys defence with some dummies and fast steps. Bird ranged up on the inside and crushed a few defenders to barrel over. Gold Coast lead 10-0 with Prince's kick on the way.
32nd min Sezer is really, really good at drop-outs. Another 50m one there and by my count, that's their sixth in just over half an hour of football. Thurston drops the ball as he tries to pass and he's having an off night so far. Could be in doubt for game two of the Origin in this sort of form (I'm joking, before anybody says anything). Titans lead 6-0.
30th min Thurston kicking almost every time he touches it tonight. Had options all over the place there but opted for a disappointing grubber. Preserving himself for Origin? Why not, I say. Tate gets whacked with an arm of Idris now and is down for treatment on that famous chin. Fell into it but that might earn a second look from officials on the video review. Titans lead 6-0.
27th min Some silly errors now for the Cowboys. Like the rest of us, they are probably struggling to come to terms with the fact they didn't score a point when they made the Titans start the game with 47 straight tackles. Mead goes close now for the Titans as he chases that bomb but he is thrown into touch near the cornerpost. Titans lead 6-0. Segeyaro and Bailey gone for the night so it's 16-on-16.
24th min The 'other' Sims, Ashton, now on for the Cowboys, who are threatening yet again but knock it on through Winterstein. Neat stepping from the former Broncos but not such a neat finish. Titans hold onto their 6-0 lead as they feed a scrum near their own line. Their defence has been ridiculously good so far.
21st min Ooomph. Matt Scott flattens Sezer after he kicks the ball. Very solid hit and there's no doubt that was pretty close. He had his head down and it wasn't a high tackle so play on. Titans lead 6-0 and starting to get some swagger in their play. They must surely feel like they can handle anything the Cowboys can throw at them after that start.
20th min Prince knocks over the conversion and after being completely dominated at the start of the contest, the Titans somehow lead 6-0. Well played to them.
17th min Champion over here but he's held up. The Titans have looked pretty good when they've got any ball and they've scored. TRY to the Titans! Well I'll be. Graham can't get on the Sezer grubber and Kevin Gordon gets there first. It's 4-0.
15th min Thurston's Qld teammate Harrison puts him on his backside as he puts up the bomb but for the first time tonight, it doesn't result in a repeat set. They'll chat about that over a game of golf at Coolum, I'm sure. Rib injury for Bailey so both sides down to 16 men, although the Titans have made an extra 7,639,789 tackles. It's 0-0.
13th min A bad injury for James Segeyaro and he's carried off the field. Looks like a left ankle injury and I wouldn't expect he will be coming back. Luke Bailey also off for the Titans. He could have been hurt making their sole hit-up for the night. Titans 0 Cowboys 0.
12th min Ash Graham has dropped it as he dived for the corner. Greg Bird with a massive effort to stick with the winger and forces the error. That's why he's an Origin player. Somehow the Titans hold on but don't let the scoreline fool you - this has been one of the most one-sided starts to a match I've ever seen. Oddly, it remains 0-0.
11th min Amazingly, Aidan Sezer just launched his fifth drop-out of the night. The Titans have now made 64 tackles to 10 and I think they made 47 without the Cowboys making a single one to start the game. Another six and finally, it looks as if the Cowboys have scored. Going upstairs.
7th min After seven minutes, the Titans are going to get the ball. What a start to the match and the Cowboys can't get a dime from four straight sets of six to open the contest. Good metres from the Titans now and that's a decent set to open it up for them. To be fair, they've had a while to think about it. Still 0-0 at Robina, where Titans jerseys are on sale but Finks vests are now officially outlawed.
6th min Thurston grubbers it in to the in-goal, completely obvlivious to the ambush into which his side is being lured. The Titans pump up their fourth consecutive drop-out and Sezer slams it 60m. It's amazing what you can do after a bit of practice. Now a penalty against Champion and the Cowboys go again. Somehow, they haven't scored.
4th min The Titans are really driving this tactic home. They've tricked the Cowboys into having another set of six attacking the Gold Coast line. If I was Neil Henry, I'd be extremely concered at this early territorial and possession domination. It's 0-0.
1st min We're off and the Titans have mucked up right away. Thurston kicks it dead, the Titans drop heads and drop it out and the Cowboys attack. The Gold Coast clearly trying to lull them into a false sense of security early. An inspired tactic.
Preamble Good evening folks. The short version of the game intro is the M1 is a NIGHTMARE so I'm already playing catch-up football before this thing has even kicked off. But I'm safe in the seat and on deck to bring you rolling coverage in the Queensland derby tonight.
It's technically a 'derby' game but given there's about 1400km and 17 hours of driving time between Robina and Townsville, you wouldn't exactly say it's Man City v Man United. At this time of year when Origin players are in and out of the side, a win is a win is a win and I'm sure that's all they are considering.
The Titans are 0-5 at home this year but ride into Robina on a two-game winning streak. The Cowboys lost their last outing against the Tigers at Campbelltown. All the big guns are back on deck tonight. A little rain about but clear skies for the moment.