Titans pull off stunning upset win over Storm
THE Gold Coast had no right.
Facing the competition leaders, the Titans were fearless. They had every reason to concede defeat but they refused to die.
In a match were Melbourne's big three looked to be back their best, it was the Titans who celebrated a stunning 38-36 win on Saturday.
But the victory didn't come without casualties. Three of them, in fact, and none bigger than Jarryd Hayne.
Hayne's left knee buckled late in the Suncorp Stadium blockbuster.
Admirably he attempted to push through the pain, even attempting a fitness test behind his in-goal before being forced from the field.
Ryan Simpkins' 50th first grade game ended after just three minutes when the lock's knee buckled as he attempted to make a tackle.
A strip on Joe Greenwood by Felise Kaufusi saw Ash Taylor miss a shot at goal but the No.7 made up for the miss with a pinpoint kick securing a repeat set.
Pressure had built and when a Taylor grubber took a deflection off the boot of Cameron Smith, Nathan Peats regathered, shuffled it to Ryan James and the Titans skipper posted first points.
If there were any doubts around Slater's health, they've gone out the window.
He was brilliant. He was scheming, defending, kicking and scoring.
Returning from a foot injury, Tohu Harris made his presence felt when he ran a brilliant line for Cameron Munster before summing up the situation and feeding Slater to return fire against the Titans.
Moments later the Storm hit the lead with the old firm rewinding the clock.
Cameron Smith exploited a lazy marker, linked with Slater on the inside and the fullback found Cooper Cronk in support who finished the job. It was pure class.
Ahead 12-6, Cronk secured his second try just three minutes later when he finished off a play set-up by Cameron Munster and Tim Glasby.
With halftime fast approaching, Nathan Peats played it flat for Leivaha Pulu who crashed over from close range.
Trailing by six, Jarryd Hayne drifted from his left edge to the right side of the field, lobbed the ball to the wing of Anthony Don who finished it off in the corner.
Down by two after the break, Peats jumped out of dummy half, delivering a grubber for Konrad Hurrell to pounce and reclaim the lead.
With the Titans up 22-18, the Titans lost Dan Sarginson to a possible broken forearm.
Taylor's kicking game was again a focal point when the half sent a bomb to the heavens which crashed down off the chest of Don and into the waiting hands of Chris McQueen.
Kane Elgey, after Taylor sacked himself as kicker, slotted the goal for a 10-point lead.
Following back-to-back sets to the Storm, Will Chambers caught Hayne off guard as he completed a sweeping left to right play.
Smith slotted the goal from touch and reduced the margin to 28-24 with 15 minutes remaining.
With Hayne on one-foot after getting caught awkwardly attempting to make a tackle, the Storm peppered his edge.
A Cronk bomb saw Suliasi Vunivalu outleap Tyrone Roberts, popped the ball up for Joe Stimson and the rookie backrower levelled the scores.
Smith nailed the kick and with that claimed the lead.
The kick was irrelevant, seconds later the Storm struck down the other edge when Munster found Cheyse Blair in a short side raid.
Refusing to die, a short kick from Taylor found Roberts and Elgey nailed the goal to trail 36-34.
With less than three minutes left on the clock, Elgey kicked for the corner and found Don on the full.
The flyer knocked the ball back to Hurrell who pushed off a desperate tackle by Blair to snare victory.