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Titans pip Cowboys in Townsville

16/08/2008 10:18:28 PM Comments (0)

A maiden NRL finals appearance is still within reach for the Gold Coast Titans after they prevailed 26-20 in a torrid battle with North Queensland in Townsville.

The Titans withstood a barrage of enterprising Cowboys raids in the second half to hold on by six points.

The Cowboys entered the game as favourites after they snapped a 13-game losing streak with a rousing win against the Bulldogs last weekend.

And they were gifted a chance to take this game into golden point when Luke O'Dwyer was sin-binned for repeated offside infringements.

But winger Ty Williams put a foot into touch on the left sideline as he made a dash for the corner with less than two minutes left on the clock.

Queensland playmaker Scott Prince returned from a broken arm for the Gold Coast and was magnificent after a seven week absence, laying on two tries for NSW forward Anthony Laffranchi.

The Cowboys also received a timely boost in the form of Australian halfback Johnathan Thurston who returned from a four-week absence after knee surgery.

The Titans appeared to have the Cowboys' measure in the second half when they streaked away from a 14-all halftime deadlock to 26-14 in the blink of an eye through tries to Preston Campbell and Esikeli Tonga.

But the cellar dwellers fought back with a 57th minute four-pointer to former Shark Dayne Weston.

That would be the final score despite a 10-7 penalty count giving the Cowboys all the possession and opportunity to snatch the win.

Prince's first try assist came in the 17th minute when he put on a superb short ball for Kangaroo hopeful Laffranchi, who barged through the defence to score close to the right post.

Prince was unable to convert the try, but as the Cowboys' error count soared, he was able to utilise the mountain of possession to again put Laffranchi over in the 26th minute with a perfect grubber kick.

Mat Rogers, returning from a one week suspension, scored the club's third try in the 29th minute.

Titans coach John Cartwright was reluctant to boast, knowing his side still had a big job ahead to make the top eight.

"We're not getting carried away but it is a big pressure release," said Cartwright, before praising Prince's brave performance.

"(Prince) was presented with the medical advice and knew the (risks)," he said.

"I just can't talk highly enough on his courage."

Prince said his arm came through the game well, particularly after being targeted in defence.

"It's not too bad, I was just happy to get through the whole 80 minutes, I didn't really sleep that much last night," he said.

"I get targeted every week so it's not a problem with me, I was very happy to win tonight and get through the game unscathed.

"We really dug deep and worked hard for each other."

Cowboys coach Ian Millward was proud of his side, despite the disappointing result.

"I don't think anyone let anyone down with their attitude, it was just execution," he said.

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