Titans too strong for Warriors - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Titans too strong for Warriors

By Laine Clark 10/09/2010 11:33:01 PM Comments (0)

Moments after inspiring the Gold Coast's 28-16 NRL finals win over the Warriors on Friday night, William Zillman unselfishly offered to stand aside for recovering fullback Preston Campbell just as the Titans' title push gained pace.

The usually poker-faced Titans coach John Cartwright heaped praised on Zillman after he filled the big shoes left behind by injured talisman Campbell to spark the five-tries-to-three victory.

The win sealed either a home final next round or a week off depending on weekend results - either way Zillman was the man of the moment in front of the 27,026-strong Skilled Park crowd.

Remarkably, Zillman had sweated on Campbell's availability all week as the veteran nursed a hamstring complaint before getting the green light on Thursday - or so he thought.

Zillman must have choked on his cornflakes when he picked up a Brisbane newspaper on Friday morning and read that Campbell was a chance to be a surprise starter.

But Cartwright quashed the speculation hours before kick-off - then Zillman went about killing off the Warriors.

His two first half tries proved crucial - but it was a second-half play that made the difference in the tight contest.

A determined Zillman put his body on the line in the 64th minute to dive on a spilt Warriors ball, derailing yet another late New Zealand raid after the visitors had cut the deficit to 24-16.

It proved the turning point - one minute later Titans winger Kevin Gordon crashed down the sideline for what became the match-winning try.

"It was really critical when Zillman scooped up that spilt ball when they were coming to get us," Cartwright said.

"He saw the ball on the ground and attacked it - it was a real sign of confidence.

"That gave us a lift when we needed it.

"He was man of the match by a long way."

But with Campbell expected to return, Cartwright has been put in a difficult position, not that he would bite on Friday night.

"I am just going to enjoy the win tonight - we don't even know when we are playing next," he said.

However, Zillman was quick to ease any potential selection headache for Cartwright.

"He (Campbell) is an outstanding player and the team is better with him in there - he is a freak," Zillman said.

"It would be great if he came back - he would certainly boost the team."

Zillman pounced on a Scott Prince grubber in the 18th minute and did it all himself in the 32nd to help the Titans grab a 22-6 halftime lead.

But Zillman said: "I got a bit lucky tonight.

"I was certainly pretty nervous seeing that I had to fill Presto's big shoes."

The deficit blew out to 24-6 when Prince potted over a 46th minute penalty before the Warriors came roaring back through Joel Moon (48th minute try) and hulking winger Manu Vatuvei (59th).

"Our first 40 minutes were probably as good as we have executed all year, that's what won us the game," Cartwright said.

"But the job is not done yet. If we turn that 40 minute performance into 50 or 60 minutes, we will be hard to beat."

It was a stirring effort by a side that had an injury cloud over Scott Prince, Luke Bailey, Mat Rogers, Steve Michaels, Brad Meyers and Ash Harrison.

Certainly after the Titans crashed out of the 2009 NRL finals race in straight sets.

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