NRL Round 8 – Match 4 Results: Gold Coast Titans 38 v Penrith Panthers 24

The in-form Gold Coast Titans moved their way up to number two on the NRL ladder after Round 8, when they secured another big win at Skilled Park, this time defeating the Panthers 38 – 24.

The Titans have now won six games this season and are the only team to trail the leading St George Illawarra Dragons by just two competition points.

Penrith who had, up until Saturday, enjoyed a sizzling succession of four straight wins are now number four on the ladder with 10 competition points.

The Panthers suffered an early blow when they lost back-rower Frank Pritchard from the match when he strained his groin in the warm-up.

Still, many were surprised at how high scoring a game this showdown was, as the Titans scored six to the Panthers four tries.

And much credit is due to Gold Coast skipper Scott Prince, who was the architect behind the Titans win after returning from a five-week stretch after breaking his thumb, scoring 18 of their points on his own including their opening try and kicking seven from seven.

The Panthers owed the majority of their points to halfback Lachlan Coote who bagged himself a hat-trick of tries, including the first try of the night just six minutes in.

Michael Gordon converted and the visitors had the early six point advantage.

In the 20th minute Scott Prince began his tremendous game opening the Gold Coast’s account and converting his own try to tie the score six all.

Just four minutes later back-rower Anthony Laffranchi got over the line again for the Titans and the kick sat them in front by six.

Penrith fought back quickly in an exciting first half battle as Travis Burns put the ball down in the 29th minute and Gordon’s conversion again tied the score 12 all, which it remained at half-time.

Back from the break the home team totally dominated the game with Ashley Harrison starting their assault in the 47th minute with a converted try, after Prince whacked back a grubber many would have let go dead, that gave them the lead 18 – 12.

Before Penrith could score again, the Gold Coast kicked a penalty in the 54th minute and then got in another two tries just three minutes apart when Clinton Toopi and Greg Bird scored in the 65th and 68th minutes, and with Prince’s pin-point accuracy when kicking, they soared to a 32 – 12 lead.

This was when Coote fought hard to add some respectability to the visitor’s score, finishing off his hat-trick with two smart tries in the 72nd and 77th minutes, both converted by Gordon to see them shorten the margin 32 – 24 with three minutes left on the clock.

But giving the home crowd something to really cheer about, Luke Bailey added further gloss to the score with an 80th minute try, again converted by Prince, so they finished with an impressive 38 points.