Knights players celebrate a try by Shaun Kenny-Dowall during their match against the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday. Photo: AAP
Knights players celebrate a try by Shaun Kenny-Dowall during their match against the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday. Photo: AAP

Titans blow 14-point lead against Knights

THE Titans have lost the chance for a rare win on the road, blowing a 14-point lead in Newcastle to go down to a gritty Knights side 30-24.

Leading by 14 points early in the second half following an unanswered 12 points after the break, the Titans should have been able to ice the game but allowed the Knights back in as the desperate home side fought for their slim finals hopes.

Converted tries to Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Mitch Barnett within the space of four minutes handed the Knights all the momentum and when Ken Sio levelled the scores at 24-24 with 12 minutes remaining, the writing was on the wall for the Titans.

The loss of AJ Brimson to a nasty head knock as Fitzgibbon scored his try did not help the Titans, with Ash Taylor struggling to guide the team home.

While he was far from shocking, Taylor again struggled with final-tackle options and the Titans were left disorganised at the back end of sets on several occasions.

Knights players celebrate a try as dejected Titans look on. Photo: Getty Images
Knights players celebrate a try as dejected Titans look on. Photo: Getty Images

The loss was the Titans' third in succession, leaving them in 12th place on the ladder, and the Sea Eagles can leapfrog them on Sunday if they can upset the Roosters.

Mitch Barnett opened the scoring for Newcastle in the 11th minute when Brenko Lee bobbled a grubber close to his line and Barnett was on the spot to pick up the crumbs and dive over.

The Titans hit back quickly though, with Anthony Don diving over to score in the corner and lock the scores up at 4-4.

Moeaki Fotuaika handed the Titans a lead when he was on hand to pick up the scraps after Nathan Ross knocked down a desperate pass from Nathan Peats.

Phillip Sami of the Titans scores a second-half try against the Newcastle Knights on Saturday. Picture: Darren Pateman/AAP
Phillip Sami of the Titans scores a second-half try against the Newcastle Knights on Saturday. Picture: Darren Pateman/AAP

And the Titans extended their lead when Michael Gordon slotted a penalty soon after.

But a pair of outstanding plays from Knights fullback Nick Meaney put the home side back in touch at the break. He  came up with a pair of try-saving tackles before plucking a Mitchell Pearce kick from the air to score to cut their half-time deficit to two points.

But in the best possible start tor the second half, winger Phillip Sami crossed on the back of a Mitch Rein line break, and Anthony Don scored his second of the afternoon when a Taylor kick ricocheted into Brenko Lee's arms.

However, drifting in and out of games has cost the Titans this season and they did it again at McDonald Jones Stadium when leading by 14, allowing the Knights - and their vocal fans - to roar back into the game.

Tries to Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Mitchell Barnett within four minutes of each other left the Knights trailing by just two points and when Jarrod Wallace conceded a penalty for being offside in the 68th minute, Ken Sio slotted home a penalty to lock the scores up before Kenny-Dowall scored the match-winner.

Jai Arrow suffered a knock to the knee he corked in Origin III in the first tackle of the game but remained on the ground after having strapping applied to the injury.

Ryan James was again outstanding, making 147m and 37 tackles in a herculean effort.



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