Mead not enough as Warriors beat Titans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mead not enough as Warriors beat Titans

Laine Clark 08/05/2011 08:09:01 PM Comments (0)

The frightening sight of New Zealand Warriors giant Manu Vatuvei did not scare Gold Coast winger David Mead.

But the Titans were fearing for their NRL finals future after the Warriors ran out 34-14 winners at Skilled Park on Sunday.

In a David versus Goliath battle, pint-sized Mead bagged three tries to win his duel with 189cm, 112kg winger Vatuvei - back early from a round one knee injury.

But the Warriors (5-4 record) had the last laugh in front of 17,285 mostly Kiwi fans, sealing their third straight win and first over the Titans since 2007 - snapping a run of six losses against the Gold Coast club.

In contrast, it's crunch time for the Titans (3-6).

And coach John Cartwright believed his "diabolical" side only had themselves to blame, despite several contentious calls.

The most glaring led to backrower Elijah Taylor's 33rd minute try, as the Warriors scored 16 unanswered points to take a 22-8 halftime lead.

Taylor appeared to have been tackled by Preston Campbell and Esi Tonga, only to be told to play on by referee Jared Maxwell when the forward got to his feet.

Campbell and Tonga stood disbelieving at Maxwell, as Taylor simply ran around them and scored the Warriors' fourth try of the first half.

"I haven't seen anything like that on the field before," Cartwright said.

"I suppose he got it right. He called play on. We should have tackled him.

"The first 25 minutes I thought we were pretty comfortable. From that moment on, for some reason, we were diabolical through to halftime."

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary said of Taylor's try: "I thought Elijah did everything right. He waited for the ref. He showed really good awareness for a young kid - smart play."

Cartwright admitted the next round clash against Manly at Skilled Park was "crunch time" for his team.

"But it is not so much where we sit on the table - it's about playing consistently and we are not doing it at the moment," he said.

At least Mead brought a smile to Cartwright's face.

Mead had just one try from eight games this year before Sunday.

"He worries like all wingers if they are not scoring tries, but he's been in the right position. It just hasn't been happening for him in the last couple of weeks," Cartwright said.

Cleary liked what he saw from Vatuvei, who scored a 17th-minute try.

"It's hard for anyone to come back from a knee injury but someone that big, it's a bit harder - we are very happy to have him back," he said.

Warriors captain Simon Mannering, Lance Hohaia, Ben Matulino and Lewis Brown backed up from New Zealand's Friday night Test loss to Australia, however, they lost Sam Rapira (thumb).

Cleary looked relieved after the club gambled this year and did not ask the NRL for a bye on the week of the trans-Tasman Test, believing it would be held in Christchurch.

The Warriors were thanked after Sunday's match by the 250 Christchurch earthquake survivors who also attended the Test.

For the Titans, City backrower Mark Minichiello backed up but they lost prop Luke Bailey (neck).

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