Brisbane have scored a controversial 44-28 win to dump a battered and bruised Gold Coast from the NRL finals at Suncorp Stadium.
The Titans had two crucial calls from the bunker run against them and ended Friday night’s game with just two men on the bench after losing halfback Ash Taylor midway through the first half.
The Broncos will advance to meet the loser of Saturday’s qualifying final between North Queensland and Melbourne and keeps alive their hopes of making back-to-back grand finals.
The Titans were gutsy to hold on as long as they did after running out to a surprise 18-16 halftime lead, however their stellar season came to an end against their southeast Queensland rivals.
All three of the Titans’ first-half tries came from kicks with Chris McQueen picking up the opener after Corey Oates spilled a Tyrone Roberts bomb.
The Broncos were kept in the game by a string of controversial calls by the bunker. First, Jordan Kahu was awarded a penalty try after Konrad Hurrell kicked the ball from his grasp, a decision roundly panned by commentators but defended by referees boss Tony Archer.
And when the video referee overturned a Kahu knock-on and awarded the Broncos the scrum feed, Brisbane ran up field and scored through Kahu on the back of an Anthony Milford break.
The Titans were struck a massive blow when Taylor was taken from the field with a hip injury and did not return in the second half.
With the Titans on the ropes, star fullback Jarryd Hayne took the game by the scruff of the neck and kicked for Josh Hoffman’s second try on the stroke of halftime to deliver his side a slender two-point lead.
However, Hayne went from hero to zero after the resumption when he knocked on from the kickoff and Alex Glenn strolled past McQueen for a simple try.
The Broncos were awarded yet another controversial four-pointer when Glenn pounced on a Ben Hunt grubber. Gold Coast complained that James Roberts had kicked Ryan Simpkins in the play-the-ball on the previous play, however the Broncos’ flyer was not put on report.
The Titans were reduced to two interchange players when Simpkins came from the field soon after.
The Titans battled bravely, however the Broncos proved too classy in the end with tries to Oates and Milford icing the win, sending skipper Corey Parker out a winner in his last game at Suncorp Stadium.