The Burleigh Bears staged a spirited second half fight back to topple a young Titans side, with the home side winning 36-34 at Pizzey Park.
A penalty in the closing minutes gave the Titans a chance to level the score, with Tanah Boyd’s conversion attempt from 55 metres out falling just short.
It was the Bears who surprised the Titans defence early, with centre Sami Sauiluma opening the scoring.
Minutes later, Burleigh were again attacking the Gold Coast line until Jonus Pearson pounced on a cut-out ball, running the 90 metres to score under the posts.
Both Pearson and Alofiana Khan-Pereira were strong in the wet conditions, with Pearson showing his finishing ability when he crossed for a double.
The winger gathered an Erin Clark bomb, firing in his first game back in Titans colours after an injury interrupted 2020 that saw him play just the one NRL game.
It was an end-to-end affair through the first half hour, with Bears fullback Kurtis Rowe finishing off a nice kick in behind the Titans line to see the home side re-take the lead.
Playing in the centres, Greg Marzhew impressed with ball in hand, proving a constant threat to the Burleigh defence. Bouncing off defenders, he barged over close to the line to give the Titans back the lead.
The Titans finished strongly to end the half, with Toby Sexton making a mid-field break to give the Gold Coast side field position.
Off the following play, a spread to the right found Treymain Spry who crossed with the Titans taking a 22-16 lead into the main break.
Beau Fermor impressed in the time he was on the park, and it was the backrower who made a line break that lead to a Marzhew try to start the second half.
The two combined again a few minutes later, with Fermor again providing the off-load for Marzhew’s hat-trick.
After leading 34-16 at the 52 minute mark, that’s where the points dried up for the Titans, with the Bears finishing with a flurry.
The NRL side’s more experienced players were rested in the closing stages of the trial, with the club’s train and trial and extended squad given game time.
Four unanswered tries saw the Bears move to a 36-34 point lead and with minutes remaining, the home side looked to have sealed the game.
The final play happened as the siren sounded, with a penalty giving Boyd a chance to level the game.
A well struck conversion attempt fell just short, seeing Burleigh claim victory.
“It was similar to last year in how the game panned out,” Gold Coast Titans coach Justin Holbrook said.
“Back end of the first half, I thought we were really good and that was when we were at our best and we started the second half, but then we made a lot of changes and didn’t have the ball much in the last 20 minutes so it was good tackling practice.
“I thought Greg and Treymain Spry were probably the two good guys for us, they played really well and Jayden Campbell was dangerous at the back as well.
“No injuries tonight, I think we were okay.”
Burleigh Bears 36 (Sami Sauiluma, Troy Leo, Kurtis Rowe, Blake Leary, Josh Berkers, Lochlyn Sheldon, Allan Lockwood tries; Guy Hamilton 2, Shallin Fuller 2 goals) def Gold Coast Titans 34 (Greg Marzhew 3, Jonus Pearson 2, Tremain Spry tries; Tanah Boyd 5 goals) at Pizzey Park