An inexperienced Vodafone Warriors side emerged with plenty of credit from a 12-22 loss to Gold Coast in their first NRL trial of the season in Toowoomba on Saturday night.
The effort was hugely encouraging considering the Vodafone Warriors fielded only six players with NRL experience and then with just 56 games between them.
In contrast, the Titans had significant NRL experience to draw on with Brad Tighe (166) and Matt White (138) counting more than 100 appearances each while they boasted a combined total of more than 600 NRL games across the squad. The Titans also ran with a 26-man squad while the Vodafone Warriors had 23.
Yet despite such odds the Vodafone Warriors, with New South Wales Cup coach Stacey Jones in charge, pushed the home side all the way.
Indeed they twice had the lead, went to halftime locked at 12-12 and were still even nearing the end of the third quarter.
It was only then that Gold Coast snatched the lead for the first time through wing Shaun Hudson and then added a fourth try inside the final 10 minutes to secure a 10-point win.
Earlier Vodafone Warriors centre Dominique Peyroux opened the scoring against his former club, halfback Api Pewhairangi converting his try for a 6-0 lead.
The Titans countered through wing Leva Li, who scored in the right-hand corner. Kane Elgey was on target from the touchline to leave the sides locked at 6-6 after the first quarter.
The next 20 minutes played out in an identical manner.
Just minutes in the Vodafone Warriors engineered a try for big prop Nathaniel Peteru off the back of a penalty. Pewhairangi again converted to restore a six-point advantage,
Once more the Titans levelled, though, this time through the seasoned Tighe with Elgey providing the extras to even the contest up at 12-12 going into halftime.
With plenty of personnel changes on both sides, the score remained unchanged until close to the end of the third quarter when wing Shaun Hudson went across in the left-hand corner. Jamal Fogarty converted, the Titans leading the contest for the first time.
They protected their advantage and in the 72nd minute extended to a 22-12 lead when hooker Christian Hazard scored off a chip kick.
Match details | Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba
Gold Coast Titans 22 (Leva Li, Brad Tighe, Shaun Hudson, Christian Hazard tries; Kane Elgey 2 conversions; Jamal Fogarty conversion).
Vodafone Warriors 12 (Dominique Peyroux, Nathaniel Peteru tries; Api Pewhairangi 2 conversions).
Referees: Jared Maxwell and Matt Noyen.
Vodafone Warriors | Viliami Kaveinga; Jarrod Tua, Matt Allwood, Dominique Peyroux, Paul Ulberg; Sam Cook, Api Pewhairangi; Charlie Gubb, Nathaniel Roache, Albert Vete; Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Matiu Love-Henry; John Palavi (c). Interchange: Marata Niukore, Nathaniel Peteru, Upu Poching, Toafofoa Sipley, Saula Solomona, Stedman Lefau, Willie Peace, Zac Tippins, Ata Hingano, James Bell.
Gold Coast Titans | Anthony Don; Kalifa Faifai Loa, Jamie Dowling, Davin Crampton, Leva Li; Jamal Fogarty, Kane Elgey; David Hala, Christian Hazard, Matt White (c); Jai Ingram, Matt Robinson; Ben Ridge. Interchange: Mark Ioane, Damien Sironen, Ryan James, Kierran Moseley, James Roberts, Ryan Simpkins, Brad Tighe, Matt Srama, Agnatius Paasi, Connor Broadhurst, Lachlan Burr, Mark Offerdahl, Shaun Hudson.