Two of the sides who have been struggling since the restart, the Gold Coast Titans and the New Zealand Warriors, met at the Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast.
The Warriors welcomed back Roger Tuivasa-Sheck but it was at the cost of Kodi Nikorima whikle the Titans also made a couple of changes with Sam Stone and debutant Treymain Spry brought into the seventeen.
An eighteen-point winning margin for the Titans would lift them above the Warriors and a win for the Warriors would move them up the table by one place. The Warriors were favourites with the bookies, but only just.
With just three minutes on the clock, and following a successful Captains Challenge, Roger Tuivasa-Scheck threw the dummy to his right and ran the angle to ground, one-handed. Chanel Harris-Tavita kicked beautifully from the right touchline.
On seven minutes the Warriors went in, this time down the left as a bullet pass from Peta Hiku hit Ken Maumalo who juggled it above his head and spun around to ground in the corner. Harris-Tavita kicked another touchline conversion for 12-0.
The Titans struck back on twenty minutes as Jamal Fogarty and Corey Thompson combined with fast passes for Anthony Don to get the ball on the line. Ashley Taylor converted from wide to half the Warriors lead.
The Warriors had dominated the first half but went into the sheds with just a narrow six-point advantage on the scoreboard.
The Titans got even closer to the Warriors eight minutes after the restart after Tyrone Peachey caught a kick through and flung it backwards before going dead in goal, with Sam Stone was on hand to ground the ball, unopposed. Ash Taylor pushed his kick wide of the right upright.
A dreadful knock-on from Tuivasa-Scheck fielding a Don infield kick gifted the Titans great field position with seven minutes remaining. A grubber kick from Fogarty wasn’t dealt with by the Warriors defence and Fermor won the race to ground the ball a split second before going into touch. Fogarty added the conversion, with Taylor off the pitch having failed a head test, and the Titans were now 16-12 ahead.
Fogarty kicked a seventy-eighth minute 40-20 to ensure the Titans ended the game on the attack. After trapping the Warriors in goal on the last tackle the Titans started their celebrations early.
After being second best for most of the game the Titans snatched the crucial win with a seventy-fourth minute try after the opening try scorer Tuivasa-Scheck dropped a simple ball on his own twenty. The Warriors will look at this game as the one that got away as the Titans move level with them on points, just trailing them on points difference.
Gold Coast Titans: Thompson, Don (T), Fermor (T), Cartwright, Spry, Taylor (G), Fogarty (G), Fotuaika, Clark, Jolliffe, Stone (T), Hipgrave, Arrow. Subs: Boyd, Lisone, Wallace, Peachey.
New Zealand Warriors: Tuivasa-Scheck (T), Fusitu’a, Herbert, Hiku, Maumalo, Harris-Tavita (2G), Green, Taunoa-Brown, Egan, Blair, Murchie, Lawton, Harris. Subs: Paasi, Hetherington, Papali’I, Tevaga.
Referee: Chris Butler.
Ground: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast.