The Brisbane Broncos have made history for all the wrong reasons after Gold Coast ran out 18-6 winners in Robina.
- The Broncos have now lost 15 matches this season to sit second from bottom on the ladder
- The win sealed the Titans’ first season sweep of the Broncos
- Jack Wighton scored a double as the Raiders thrashed the Dragons 37-8
Somehow a nightmare season got worse for the battling Broncos after they slumped to a club record ninth straight loss.
In contrast, the Titans’ late-season resurgence continued in front of a 9,729-strong crowd, as they sealed their third straight win for the first time since 2017 and fourth victory in six matches.
Adding further insult, it marked the first time the Titans have defeated the Broncos twice in the same season.
Brisbane’s 15th loss for the season is also another record and all but ensures Gold Coast (7-11 win-loss record) will finish as the highest-placed Queensland team with just two regular-season rounds left.
On yet another night to forget for six-time premiers Brisbane (3-15 win-loss record), the three-tries-to-one victory ensured the Titans notched their first home win over their arch rivals since 2014.
Brisbane had started brightly when the Titans spilled a Sean O’Sullivan grubber kick, allowing veteran Broncos fullback Darius Boyd to pounce for the opening try of the match in the sixth minute.
Titans hooker Mitch Rein levelled scores with a dummy-half run five minutes later, before much-improved back rower Sam Stone made Corey Oates pay for misjudging a Jamal Fogarty kick to score in the 23th minute.
All eyes were on Gold Coast-bound David Fifita after interim Broncos coach Peter Gentle said he hoped the barnstorming back rower would show the Titans “what they are getting” before moving to the tourist strip next season on a lucrative three-year deal.
And Fifita gave the Titans a glimpse in the 35th minute when he barged over, only to be denied a try after replays showed he had lost the ball over the line.
After leading 12-6 at half-time, the Titans made a dream start to the second stanza when Young Tonumaipea capped a stunning 95-metre effort by scoring in the 44th minute.
Pivot Ash Taylor created something from nothing with a huge dummy, sprinting through a gaping hole as the ball went through three sets of hands before Tonumaipea crashed over.
Raiders still a top-four chance
Canberra has kept pace with the NRL’s top four via a 37-8 win over on St George Illawarra in Wollongong.
The Raiders, who scored six tries to two, are fifth on the ladder with two rounds remaining in the minor premiership, level on 24 points with the fourth-placed Roosters.
The Roosters, however, have the opportunity to again move a win clear of the Raiders when they face Newcastle at the SCG on Saturday night.
Jack Wighton scored two tries in the Raiders’ comfortable win, while Dragons’ rookie sensation Cody Ramsey also posted a double in the only bright spot for the hosts.
While the 20-year-old Ramsey showed off his talent, the Dragons’ middle faltered and their defence was poor against a workmanlike Raiders side.
Canberra’s first try came in soft fashion when Hudson Young easily forced his way over in the middle, and it set the tone for the rest of the day.
Young and Joseph Tapine both marched through the middle, while Josh Papalii pulled off one of the hits of the year on Cameron McInnes.
Wighton’s tries took his tally to the season for 10, well clear of the next best half in the competition.
His first of the day came in spectacular fashion.
Jordan Rapana ran onto a dream bounce from a George Williams kick, before he offloaded it back inside and Tapine eventually put the five-eighth over.
Wighton’s second try, however, exemplified the Dragons’ struggles, when he hit a gaping hole from a simple Williams pass to stroll over.
It was one of four second-half tries for the Raiders as they tore the Dragons apart on their right.
Elliott Whitehead helped Jarrod Croker to one as he chased down a grubber kick with no-one home, while John Sutton brushed through the line in the lead-up to another from John Bateman.
Semi Valemei got the final try of the match as Williams and Wighton combined to help leave the Dragons short for numbers with their winger the beneficiary.