Gold Coast have ended Canberra’s unbeaten start to the NRL season with a stirring 24-20 come-from-behind win at GIO Stadium.
The Raiders were up 20-6 midway through the second half and looked set to shoot to the top of the table on Saturday, only to have victory stolen by the Titans with two minutes remaining.
A try to John Olive, converted by Ashley Taylor in the dying seconds, sealed the win, which is the club’s 100th.
It not only snapped the Gold Coast’s seven-game losing streak on the road, but also brought the Raiders’ stellar start to 2016 to a grinding halt.
The Titans were without skipper Nathan Friend – who was a late withdrawal following two recent head knocks – briefly lost hardman Greg Bird while he underwent a concussion test, and had an injury scare when Tyrone Roberts hurt his knee.
But they held on and pounced on a slew of errors by the Raiders in the second term for the victory.
The hosts had enjoyed a glut of early possession and took advantage, scoring twice for a 12-0 lead after 13 minutes.
Halfback Sam Williams and hooker Josh Hodgson had a hand in both, first setting up skipper Jarrod Croker and then stand-in five-eighth Elliott Whitehead.
A few errors sent the pendulum swinging the visitors’ way for a Ryan James try in the 34th minute.
But some more Hodgson brilliance just moments before halftime undid the Titans’ good work, as the Englishman laid it up for Edrick Lee, whose converted try sent them into the break 18-6.
Their lead was extended briefly via a second-half penalty goal, but a converted try to former Raider David Shillington in the 66th minute sparked a late fightback.
A Zeb Taia four-pointer reduced the scoreline to 20-18 with five minutes to go, and Olive’s try in the 79th minute sealed the win.
The Titans might have a case to answer during the week over a possible interchange bungle, in which Shillington went on the field when Roberts went down in the second half.