A contentious Gold Coast try has handed the Vodafone Junior Warriors a huge setback today in their hopes of reaching the NYC play-offs.
The Vodafone Junior Warriors went into the encounter at Cbus Super Stadium six points outside eighth place desperately needing victory to maintain a late charge up the table.
They were on target heading into the last five minutes leading 20-18 only to have their winning position taken away from them in highly controversial circumstances.
It came in the 75th minute when interchange hooker Jordan Scott was awarded a try despite the instant impression he had been superbly held up by Vodafone Junior Warriors standoff Eiden Ackland.
Television replays clearly established Scott had indeed failed to ground the ball, leaving the Vodafone Junior Warriors frustrated as the Titans were able to take a 22-20 lead into the final stages of the match before going on to win by that margin.
It was a cruel blow after the Vodafone Junior Warriors had worked so hard to put themselves in position to win.
After captain Sheldon Pitama had scored their only first half try, the Vodafone Junior Warriors went to halftime trailing 6-12.
They made a superb start to the second spell, though, forcing a Gold Coast error in the opening set and converting it into points with Pitama going over from dummy half for his second try. Fullback Kane Telea converted to level it up 12-12.
They maintained the rage, sustaining pressure and profiting from their work in the 55th minute. Ackland shipped a wide pass to centre Melino Fineanganofo who flicked a sweet off load for right wing Lewis Soosemea to cross in the corner. Telea’s conversion from the challenging angle was brilliant to put his side 18-12 ahead.
The visitors weren’t able to build on the lead or protect it for long, centre Phillip Sami intercepting near his line and going almost 100 metres for a try Josh Rogers converted to level up at 18-18.
There it stayed until the 71st minute when the Vodafone Junior Warriors earned a penalty which Telea nailed for a two-point lead – only for the Titans to benefit from the the try call which left everyone bewildered at best.
Match details | Cbus Super Stadium, Robina
Gold Coast Titans 22 (Phillip Sami 2, Alexander Brimson, Jordan Scott tries; Josh Rogers 3 conversions).
Vodafone Junior Warriors 20 (Sheldon Pitama 2, Lewis Soosemea tries; Kane Telea 3 conversions, penalty).
Halftime: 12-6 Titans.
Referees: Jarrod Cole and Nick Pelgrave.
Vodafone Junior Warriors | Kane Telea; Lewis Soosemea, Melino Fineanganofo, Junior Pauga, Matt Faitotoa; Eiden Ackland, Chanel Harris-Tavita; Mattais Heimuli, Sheldon Pitama (c), Joseph Vuna; Ofahiki Ogden, Bunty Afoa; Isaiah Papalii. Interchange: Joseph Price, Chris Sio, Kenese Kenese, Jerome Mamea.