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Titans stop the rot against Manly

By Laine Clark 11/06/2010 11:36:38 PM Comments (0)

There were plenty of reasons for Gold Coast coach John Cartwright to smile after the Titans broke their three-game NRL losing run at Skilled Park on Friday night.

But Cartwright certainly wasn't seeing the funny side of a "comical" eight-point try that threatened to swing the clash Manly's way.

Cartwright almost lost count of the positives following the Titans' 28-14 victory - but the standout was Gold Coast debutant Ryan James.

And at 111kg and 192cm it was hard for the 18-year-old James not to stand out.

While Cartwright heaped praise on the way James stood up against Manly's "international pack", he wasn't so complimentary about a decision to award an eight-point try to the Sea Eagles in the 69th minute.

Manly cut the deficit from 22-6 to 22-14 when Titans backrower Mark Minichiello was penalised and placed on report for sliding into try-scorer Ben Farrar with his knees.

"It was comical, really," Cartwright said.

"We talk about consistency in the game. I think there have been half a dozen guys go to the judiciary for that and no eight-point try.

"Whether it is in the rules or not, I don't know but to pull it out in a tense situation like that - but yeah we will get some reason for it (from refs boss Robert Finch) though."

Cartwright had the last laugh when Titans prop Luke Bailey pounced on a Greg Bird kick that ricocheted off the posts in the 73rd minute to seal the win.

Talk inevitably turned to James who did not take a backward step, particularly in a memorable jostling match with Manly's Test prop Josh Perry.

"He did exactly what he was supposed to do," Cartwright said of his impressive debut.

"He's only 18, and up against an international front row, and they were looking for him in the first half when he went out."

Bailey - who raised eyebrows when he rolled his ankle in the second half - also singled out the youngster.

"I am not done yet but I think we have found our replacement," Bailey laughed.

"They tried to niggle the young fella but he is 111 kilos - you don't want to fire him up too much."

Despite the injury concern, Bailey said he would be fine to play the Bulldogs in Brisbane next round.

There had been more jeers than cheers from the Titans faithful of late due to the Gold Coast's worrying slide from joint competition leaders to sixth since their last victory on May 9.

However, the majority of the 17,508-strong Skilled Park crowd had screamed themselves hoarse by fulltime as Kevin Gordon's double helped the hosts break their drought.

After taking a 14-6 halftime lead, Gold Coast looked in control as centre Sam Tagataese capped a fine game by bulldozing over in the 62nd minute and Gordon completed his double three minutes later.

Manly showed some fight, despite being without the likes of Jamie Lyon, Anthony Watmough (injury) and Steve Matai (suspension).

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