NRL Round 9 – Match 2 Results: Newcastle Knights 36 v Gold Coast Titans 38

The second match on Saturday night again saw the odds-on favourites go down as the Knights lost by a mere two points in an intense and high-scoring match to the Titans at Energy Australia Stadium.

In red-hot form now with three successive victories to their name, the Gold Coast are proving week by week that they can play and win away from home and no longer need the Skilled Park advantage to work their way up the ladder.

Saturday night was their first ever win in Newcastle, breaking their two match losing streak at the Knights’ home ground.

The Titans now sit at number two on the ladder, sharing 14 competition points with the Dragons, who lost in a shock defeat to Manly on Saturday.

Newcastle’s loss saw them drop one spot, now number 12 in the competition, so they have a lot of work to do if they are going to make the top eight this year.

Saturday’s match was the highest scoring of the round, with the Titans scoring seven to the Knights six tries.

It was try-for-try right up until the final few minutes, with the crowd kept on the edge of their seats all game. There was never a dull moment over the 80 minutes with points flying onto the board every few minutes.

The Titans began the try scoring marathon nine minutes in when veteran centre Clinton Toopi and goal-kicker Scott Prince combined to open the Gold Coast’s account with six points. It was the first of an eventual two tries Toopi would score in the match.

Less than five minutes later Newcastle centre Keith Luila got the Knights on the board with a 13th minute try converted by skipper Kurt Gidley to tie the score six all.

Gidley, who put in a smashing performance after playing in the Australia v New Zealand test match on Friday night, then scored and converted a try of his own five minutes later to give the home team a six point lead.

Newcastle picked up some momentum then and in the 24th minute Scott Dureau scored their third successive try after pouncing on his own high kick, the conversion putting them in front 18 – 6.

The home crowd didn’t enjoy the success for long however, as three minutes later the Titans begun their comeback getting two more tries in before half time. First Preston Campbell, who is now in doubt for Round 10 after a medial ligament strain, scored under the posts in the 27th minute and Prince’s conversion shortened the margin to six again.

Joseph Tomane then backed up in the last minute of the first half with another four pointer, but as Prince missed the kick and two minutes before Tomane got over Gidley kicked a penalty, the score at half-time was still in favour of the Knights 20 – 16.

Back from the break the Titans enjoyed a sizzling start to the second half with Mark Minichiello, who played in the City v Country match on Friday, scoring a converted try just two minutes in giving the visitors a two point lead.

The Knights matched this five minutes later when winger Akuila Uate scored and Gidley converted, so the see-sawing of the scoreboard continued and Newcastle were in front again by four.

The home side were next to score again when Cooper Vuna got over six minutes later and they lead by eight.

Gold Coast fans began to get nervous, but they had little to fear with 30 minutes still left to play.

In the 58th minute winger David Mead charged through some weak defence by the Knights and scored for the Titans, the conversion brining them within four points again, and then less than 10 minutes later Toopi completed his match double and they had narrowed the deficit to two points.

Then, five minutes later Greg Bird, also backing up from rep duties on Friday night, scored what was be the match winning try and the conversion by Prince saw them finish up with 38 points.

With three minutes left on the clock Newcastle got in one final try when Uate also scored for the second time in the game, and even though Gidley booted it through the posts it wasn’t quite enough and the Knights were defeated by two.