The Bulldogs had a fast finish on the Gold Coast but fell short of an upset against the silky Titans as a controversial sin bin sparked tensions between two former Origin teammates.
Fresh off locking in a five-year deal with the Titans, star fullback AJ Brimson scored two tries at either end of the match to give Gold Coast fans a promising taste of what’s to come in the future.
The biggest talking point of the Titans’ 30-20 win though was the sin bin of Bulldogs big man Dylan Napa after a high right arm on Jarrod Wallace, who grabbed his face dramatically in the tackle.
Napa binned for hit ‘around the chops’
On his way to the sidelines Napa had a fierce exchange with his former Queensland Maroons teammate, seemingly unhappy with Wallace’s reaction to the hit.
“He’s giving him an absolute gobful to Jarrod Wallace,” Fox Sports commentator Warren Smith said.
“There wasn’t much force in the contact but it was high.
“I guess [referee] Matt Cecchin is right on board with what we’ve seen.”
To rub salt into the wound, Wallace seemed to bounce back very quickly to charge over the tryline and score in the ensuing set of six.
The Bulldogs got one back though when Gold Coast’s Beau Fermor was also sent to the bin for a high hit under the NRL’s new head contact rules, leading to a try for Nick Meaney as the Titans had only 12 men on the field.
It was a frantic finish with English import Luke Thompson getting the Bulldogs within four points of the Titans with 10 minutes still left on the clock.
However when Canterbury weren’t able to make the most of their late chances inside Gold Coast’s half, Brimson was able to seal the victory.
Cotric ices slick Bulldogs move
Gold Coast’s three first-half tries got the home side off to a great start, through Brimson, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and Phillip Sami, even if they did let the Bulldogs get their second try through Nick Cotric in the 39th minute.
Chasing a 18-10 deficit, the Bulldogs just couldn’t get their nose in front despite a see-sawing second half, handing Trent Barrett’s men yet another narrow loss to keep them firmly at the bottom of the NRL ladder.