Gold Coast have ended a rough week on a good note, holding off a fast-finishing Wests Tigers to record a thrilling 27-20 win at Leichhardt Oval.
And it was winger Anthony Don who was the hero on Friday night, crossing for the match-winning try in the 71st minute that took the sails out of an almighty Tigers comeback.
Don initially looked to be the villain when his schoolboy error almost led to an epic Tigers win.
Five-eighth Aidan Sezer had just nailed a field goal to take a 19-2 lead in the 57th minute, but Don made a mess of the restart, catching the ball and then planting his foot over the dead ball line.
From there the Tigers ran in three straight tries – two of them to makeshift second-rower Chris Lawrence – to take an inspired 20-19 lead.
But when James Roberts found space on the halfway line, Don finished off the rest, bringing some much-needed relief to Gold Coast’s week, which had been dominated by the Daly Cherry-Evans saga.
Pat Richards opened the scoring with an easy two points after Ryan James’ dangerous hit on Mitch Moses following a kick.
But the visitors hit back instantly with consecutive tries to gain control of the match.
First Sezer scored under the posts in the 10th, and then Don and Kane Elgey combined for a neatly worked one-two punch in the 17th.
Unfortunately for the Titans, the young halfback twisted his ankle in the act of scoring and limped off the field not long after the restart and failed to return.
Tigers debutant Manaia Cherrington thought he had cut the deficit when he dummied his way over the line in the 31st minute, but the video referees overturned the decision.
Instead it was the Titans who grabbed the vital points before halftime, taking a 16-2 lead into the break when Delouise Hoeter missed a simple one-on-one tackle on James Roberts.
A Sezer penalty goal kicked the lead out a further two points, before the Tigers roared back into the match.
It began with Chris Lawrence scoring his first try in almost a year – charging through on a 58th minute short ball from Luke Brooks in the set after Don’s error.
Tedesco seized momentum with a backslam in the 62nd, and then Lawrence completed his double when he trailed behind a Hoeter grubber in the 66th.
But courtesy of Don’s heroics, the Titans fought back and sealed the win with a Daniel Mortimer penalty goal in the 78th.
Sezer was put on report for backchatting midway through the first half, while Sue will also face the match review committee for a shoulder charge in the dying minutes.