“I prefer not to have to go down to the wire like that but still, we have a little bit more steel in us,'' said a relieved Wests Tigers Coach Tim Sheens.
“There is still plenty of footy to be played against some good sides. I like to be seven in front like we were and stay seven in front.
“A win is a win and as we have said recently, we will take it anyway we can get it.”
Gold Coast opened the scoring in the second minute when half-back Scott Prince put through a grubber kick behind the line for centre Mat Rogers to score out wide.
Rogers converted the try for a 6-0 lead after three minutes.
Referee Gavin Badger called on video referee Sean Hampstead in the 13th minute to determine a try in the corner to winger Mitch Brown from a grubber kick by hooker and captain Robbie Farah. The try was awarded to leave Wests Tigers trailing 6-4.
Half-back Benji Marshall magnificently converted the try from the sideline from 23 metres out for a 6-6 scoreline after 15 minutes.
Rogers converted a penalty goal from 15 metres out to give the Titans an 8-6 lead after 23 minutes. Wests Tigers Prop Bryce Gibbs was penalised for a late tackle around the knees of Prince in a clearing kick.
Marshall then converted a penalty goal from 30 metres out in the 35th minute to level the scores at 8-8.
Wests Tigers took a 9-8 lead into half-time when Marshall, from a standing start, snapped a 50 metre field goal over the crossbar to leave the field to a standing ovation from Wests Tigers supporters. It was a field goal you just had to see to believe.
Wests Tigers appeared certain to score in the 48th minute when lock Chris Heighington found open space to send a pass to centre Blake Ayshford. Unfortunately Ayshford dropped the ball 10 metres out with winger Lote Tuqiri unmarked outside of him.
A fight erupted from a scrum in the 59th minute between hookers Robbie Farah and Nathan Friend.
Farah claimed to referee Gavin Bagder that he was headbutted. Titans second-rower Mark Minichiello was sin-binned for 10 minutes for being third man in after throwing punches from the back of the scrum.
Farah later said Friend had been baiting him throughout the game.
“Sometimes emotions do flow over. We got the penalty, so it was good,'' Farah said.
“There was a bit of sledging going on. He was at me all game, hitting me after I past and that, so I had a little dig at him.
“We packed into the scrum and he led with his head. I wasn’t too please about that so I stood up foy myself.”
Prince saw it differently and was surprised the penalty went to Wests Tigers.
“You put your heads into a scrum and you see a headbutt in every scrum,'' he said.
“I guess it doesn’t give him (Farah) the license to throw the first punch though."
Ayshford made up for his earlier mistake when he crossed over in the 66th minute in the corner after Heighington offloaded a desperate pass to Farah who dummied before passing to Ayshford to score.
Heighington had Aysford and Turiqi on his outside before going back inside after brushing off winger William Zillman.Marshall converted the try to give Wests Tigers a 15-8 lead after 68 minutes.
The Titans struck back four minutes later when a Prince grubber kick saw winger Kevin Gordon fly through to dive on ball to score in the corner. Rogers converted the try from 23 metres out for a 15-14 scoreline.
Badger ruled a pass forward from five-eighth Greg Bird to Zillman forward in the 75th minute just when the winger was in open space and 60 metres away from the tryline
Wests Tigers kept charging forward towards the Titans tryline inside the final minute to record victory in front of a crowd of 14,050.
Wests Tigers play North Queensland Cowboys at Leichhardt Oval next Monday night at 7pm.
WESTS TIGERS 15 (B Ayshford M Brown tries B Marshall 3 goals B Marshall field goal) bt GOLD COAST 14 (K Gordon M Rogers tries M Rogers 3 goals).
10/07/2010 12:44:21 AM