Titans into second after beating Cowboys - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Titans into second after beating Cowboys

By Jim Morton 15/08/2010 06:30:20 AM Comments (0)

Gold Coast coach John Cartwright has hailed mid-season recruit Steve Michaels as the NRL buy of the year after the ex-Bronco starred on Saturday night.

Unwanted by Brisbane this season, Michaels scored two tries and set up two others to help ensure a topsy-turvy 37-18 victory over North Queensland at Skilled Park.

The Titans' fourth straight win puts them in second spot on the NRL ladder and shores up a likely home final in the play-offs.

On the flipside of the Queensland derby, the 14th-placed Cowboys have now fallen to a third loss in a row and appear to have representative forward Luke O'Donnell sidelined for the rest of the season.

North Queensland coach Neil Henry feared O'Donnell had played his last game in the NRL after limping off with a strained knee ligament in the second half.

Sent packing by the Broncos after he lost the confidence of coach Ivan Henjak, Michaels stamped himself as a backline rock for the Titans in just his fifth game.

The Gold Coast-born centre impressed alongside Preston Campbell and Mark Minichiello in an entertaining clash which hung in the balance midway through the second half.

Michaels' first try and a Scott Prince field goal had the Titans buzzing at halftime with a 19-0 lead.

But the Cowboys came out a completely different side after the break to storm back to within a point with three converted tries in 16 minutes.

It was the 23-year-old three-quarter and livewire fullback Campbell who steadied the Gold Coast ship by laying on back-to-back tries for prop Luke Bailey and second-rower Minichiello to kill off the gallant visitors.

"He (Michaels) is the buy of the year for anyone I think," said Cartwright.

"He's got it all for me, he's tough, he's a competitor and he does all the little things well. He's been a great get for us."

Cartwright and skipper Prince felt Michaels' turnaround in an injury-affected 2010 with the Coast had been a result of the confidence shown in him by his new team-mates.

"He's always had the ability," said Prince.

"He got hampered with a bit of injury with the knee so it was always going to take a bit of time to get his confidence back but I was really excited when I heard he was coming to the club."

While Michaels was the feel-good story of the Queensland derby, O'Donnell cut a dejected figure at the end of the game.

The fiery NSW lock has signed with English club Huddersfield and Henry was less than optimistic about his likely prognosis.

"If it's a grade two (medial ligament strain) that would unfortunately be his last game for the club," the coach said.

"He's been tremendous for the club for a long time just for the quality of what he does on the field alone.

"There's not too many men who have the work-rate (he produces) in the midfield and he's a throwback to a bygone era."

While on the field, O'Donnell showed his signature aggression and paid the price for lashing out at hooker Nathan Friend in an incident that sparked a scuffle.

The pair being sin-binned in the second half.

The Cowboys will likely also be without forward Dane Hogan for the next match after he was placed on report for a "scary" lifting tackle on winger Kevin Gordon.

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