Gold Coast has claimed consecutive victories in the 2021 season after defeating North Queensland 44-8.
Meanwhile, the Wests Tigers spoiled Mitchell Pearce’s 300th NRL match, posting their first premiership points of the season in Newcastle.
A flurry of first-half tries and a dominant performance by their forwards powered the Titans to their comprehensive defeat of the winless Cowboys in Townsville.
Led by the emerging big three of David Fifita, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and AJ Brimson, the Titans raced to a 26-0 half-time lead and staved off a determined Cowboys side eager to find a way back into Sunday night’s contest.
Second-half tries to Fifita, Brimson and Corey Thompson backed up a four-try haul in the first stanza as the Titans dominated their opposition across the board.
Fifita and Fa’asuamaleaui led the way through the middle with 330 metres combined, while Brimson was electric in attack, scoring a try in each half as well as nabbing two try assists.
The pick of the crop was Brimson’s 53rd minute try, as the Titans went the length of the field to score.
A busting run by Patrick Herbert on their try-line won them 10 metres, before Jamal Fogarty put Jaimin Jolliffe through a gaping hole on halfway for Jolliffe to pass inside to a supporting Brimson.
The full-field try shone a light on a dismal night for the Cowboys, who missed 38 tackles while none of their forwards cracked 100 running metres.
Titans halfback Fogary finished the night a perfect seven from seven off the boot and Thompson’s 77th-minute try completed a clinic for the Titans.
Earlier, Brimson opened the Titans’ account with a brilliant grubber behind the Cowboys defensive line, before gathering and front-flipping to score.
Shortly after, Phillip Sami was the beneficiary of a break by Fa’asuamaleaui to score, before assisting on the next, stepping past a helpless Cowboys’ right edge to put Thompson over for his first try.
Moekai Fotuaika bagged their fourth shortly before half-time, crashing over from short range.
Murray Taulagi scored in his season debut for the Cowboys and was joined by Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow on the score sheet.
The pair were the bright sparks for a shell-shocked Cowboys team.
Wests Tigers spoil Pearce’s 300-match party
The Wests Tigers have pulled off a remarkable 24-20 upset to end Newcastle’s undefeated start to the season.
A week after being belted 40-6 by Sydney Roosters, the Tigers toughed out an error-riddled win in front of a packed stadium in Newcastle.
The Knights were leading by two points before Tigers winger David Nofoaluma crossed untouched in the 74th minute, giving the Tigers hope their season is not doomed as some feared after last week’s loss.
While there were big celebrations for the Tigers, the last-ditch win spoiled the Knights’ plans to celebrate Mitchell Pearce’s 300th NRL match in style.
Replacement Knights winger Gehamat Shibasaki had a horror afternoon under the high ball with three errors, his last coughing up possession on the line for Nofoaluma’s try.
It came just four minutes after the Knights had snatched the lead for the first time in the match.
The Tigers were leading convincingly 18-8 with 17 minutes to go when a comedy of errors handed possession to the Knights and they roared back into the match.
First, Pearce raced into the clear from 20 metres out to score under the sticks with the Tigers then kicking the ball dead to start the next set.
Knights forward Tyson Frizell scored in the next set, but the comeback win was not to be, to the dismay of 20,239 spectators in the stands.
Stand-in fullback Tex Hoy had a tough night under the high ball too but redeemed himself slightly with a slick show-and-go for the Knights’ first try 15 minutes into the contest.
But his three errors illustrated the Knights’ display of poor ball control.
The Tigers made the most of the possession with Tommy Talau, Stefano Utoikamanu and Adam Doueihi also getting on the board for the win.
The Knights are looking at further injury troubles with Jacob Saifiti coming off with a calf injury and Mitch Barnett battling through an ankle injury.