A Jarryd Hayne field goal has given Gold Coast a thrilling 19-18 win over Wests Tigers to keep his side’s NRL top eight hopes alive.
On an afternoon of high drama on Saturday at Campbelltown Stadium, in which Tigers fullback James Tedesco was taken from the field with a suspected broken jaw, Hayne booted a clutch 30-metre one-pointer to seal an important victory.
In just his second game back in rugby league after stints in the NFL and rugby sevens, Hayne proved he was ready to be a force in the back end of the season.
Like his debut, Hayne had a mixed day, booting out on the full with his first touch however set up Anthony Don’s second try with a great bomb and sealed the match after Mitchell Moses and Ashley Taylor had both missed attempted one-pointers.
Tedesco was assisted from the field in the 59th minute with blood pouring from his mouth after being taken high by Titans skipper Ryan James.
Club doctors were also worried about his teeth being loose.
The loss of the side’s star No.1 is a major blow heading into the final three weeks of the regular season.
James will come under scrutiny from the match review committee despite not being put on report or penalised – though the Tigers did receive a penalty from the play because James was ruled in front of the kicker.
The win moves the Titans back into the top eight while it could spell the end of the Tigers’ season.
The Titans looked headed for victory when Nene MacDonald intercepted a Kevin Naiqama bobble and ran 90 metres to make it 18-10 with 24 minutes remaining.
The loss of Tedesco appeared to be the final nail in the home side’s coffin, however two David Nofoaluma tries in five minutes put his side back on equal pegging.
A magic Naiqama pass set up Nofoaluma’s second and Moses’ sideline conversion bounced off the crossbar to miss.
The 16,783-strong crowd was baying for James’ blood when he took Jack Littlejohn high however Moses again missed the penalty attempt with Hayne’s field goal sealing the match.