NRL Round 26 – Match 1 Results: Gold Coast Titans 21 v Wests Tigers 18

On Friday night two of the dominant teams of the 2010 NRL season faced off in a down-to-the-wire thriller when the Gold Coast Titans narrowly defeated the Wests Tigers by three points at Skilled Park in front of over 26,100 fans.

The victory ensured the Titans of a home game semi, where they will play the flying Warriors, as they secured fourth spot on the NRL ladder.

In our Match Preview we tipped the Titans to win by 1 – 6 points and enjoyed a nice win as did any punters that took our footy tip!

Despite losing, the small margin was enough to keep the Tigers in the top three this season and the Wests will also host a qualifying final at home where they will play Roosters.

The close result from Friday has seen the Titans and the Tigers both installed as equal third-favourites to go all the way and win the Premiership at $7 through Ladbrokes.com.au.

The scoring got underway early in the match when the Titans Ashley Harrison got over in the seventh minute and Scott Prince kicked the goal to give the home side an early six point lead.

Just a few minutes later they extended their lead to the joy of the big home crowd with William Zillman scoring their second of the night and another excellent kick from Prince had them 12 points up after just 12 minutes.

Then disaster struck and Prince came off with what he thought could have been a broken collarbone after a big hit from Tigers prop Keith Galloway, the Titans quickly losing confidence without their skipper by their side.

Experience had Mat Rogers, retiring at the end of the year, understand how close this one was going to be as even though the Gold Coast were in front, the Tigers are known for their impressive second half comebacks and so the veteran kicked a field goal in the 29th minute to put another one point buffer on the Titans lead and they went to the break 13 – nil ahead.

Wests might not have been able to score in the first half, but they had also held their own and stopped their rivals from scoring again after their opening blitz and so were still right in the game in terms of confidence at half time.

Then back from the break it took just five minutes for the Tigers to strike when Chris Heighington barged over to score their first of the night, and a successful kick by Benji Marshall narrowed the margin to seven.

Before the crowd could blink Wests were at it again, winger Lote Tuqiri getting over in the corner in the 47th minute and Marshall made it two from two so it was a one point game.

A little over 10 minutes later the Titans fought back and young Kevin Gordon scored their third converted try of the night to give them a seven point lead again, the team getting some confidence after their captain was cleared and returned to the field to set up Gordon’s try with a swift cut-out pass.

But not ready to give up just yet, the visitors matched what the Titans were putting down and Gareth Ellis scored five minutes later after the Gold Coast’s Nathan Friend dropped a grubber, the kick bringing the margin back to just one measly point.

Two minutes from time the Titans received a penalty and Prince booted it through so they came away with the three point win in the end.

In our Match Preview we tipped the Titans to win by 1 – 6 points and enjoyed a nice win too as did any punters that took our footy tip!

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