Titans hold off Dragons 28-24 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Titans hold off Dragons 28-24

By Laine Clark 09/06/2009 07:07:28 AM Comments (0)

The master of understatement, Dragons coach Wayne Bennett, probably summed up the swine flu scare best after a tense 28-24 NRL loss to the Gold Coast Titans on Monday night ended a bizarre 24 hours.

"We're grown men, mate - no one is nervous about someone having a virus or flu," he deadpanned.

Both teams lost a representative player before the kick-off due to quarantine measures - the Gold Coast's Ashley Harrison and Dragons fullback Darius Boyd.

It's just that Bennett had no idea.

In farcical scenes, Bennett revealed that the first he heard about Boyd being pulled by the NRL on advice from health officials was when the fullback arrived at Skilled Park with his playing kit.

"Someone said 'what is he doing here?'. I said 'he's playing' and they said 'no, he's not. Didn't they tell you'," Bennett said.

The NRL had sensationally ordered both teams to pull their Queensland representatives because they were in the same Maroons team as Ben Hannant, who caught swine flu in Melbourne last week.

Adding to the confusion, the NSW contingent in both teams - all five of them - could play but would be quarantined for 72 hours, from Tuesday.

It was a precaution despite tests clearing NSW Origin official Tony Ayoub of flu on Monday.

While Boyd was sent back to the team hotel, Harrison watched the game from his Currumbin home.

"If Tony Ayoub had tested positive today for swine flu we wouldn't have played tonight because there was certainly no way the Dragons could have played - we got a final decision at 3.30pm (AEST)," Bennett said.

"I wasn't going to sacrifice under 20 players because most of them weren't up to it."

Bennett still had no idea that his NSW contingent of Justin Poore, Michael Weyman and Ben Creagh had to go into quarantine at the post-match press conference.

Titans coach John Cartwright also admitted he had "no idea" about his NSW players Anthony Laffranchi and Luke Bailey.

The Dragons probably wished the game had not kicked off after they trailed 22-2 at halftime following four unanswered tries including two to backrower Brad Meyers.

Yet the Dragons hit back through in-form pivot Jamie Soward to cut the deficit to just 28-24 with 30 seconds left.

The Dragons declined to convert Ben Creagh's last gasp try in order to give them time for one final crack at the Titans line.

But Gold Coast held on to defeat the Dragons for the first time - ending a five game losing run - and maintain their perfect 2009 home record.

"Our problem was our start, I don't know why," Bennett said.

"We lost something between when we woke up this morning and the start of the game."

To add to Bennett's woes, former Maroons backrower Neville Costigan dislocated his shoulder midway through the second half.

The Titans did not emerge unscathed.

Gold Coast pivot Mat Rogers appeared to suffer a rib injury in the 74th minute and amazingly NSW prop Luke Bailey underwent x-rays at halftime for a suspected broken arm but returned to the field by the 63rd.

And Titans flyer Esi Tonga was placed on report for what appeared to be an accidental knock to Soward's head in the 72nd.

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