Boos turn to cheers for Fifita as Titans repel Cowboys

Joel Gould |

David Fifita has inspired the injury-hit Titans’ gritty two-point win over the Cowboys.
David Fifita has inspired the injury-hit Titans’ gritty two-point win over the Cowboys.

Departing Gold Coast forward David Fifita was booed and then cheered as he played a key role in an incredibly gutsy 20-18 win over North Queensland.

The Titans suffered a cruel blow in the 60th minute when captain and half Kieran Foran limped off with a hamstring injury, which he later said was minor and might keep him out for week

Five-eighth AJ Brimson followed him nine minutes later with a groin complaint.

Gold Coast lost winger Phil Sami to a hamstring strain in the 26th minute, and centre Harley Smith-Shields went up the tunnel with a pectoral injury late on that coach Des Hasler said was season-ending.

This was the bravest of Titans wins.

Kieran Foran is tackled by Tom Dearden.
Kieran Foran was driven back and later taken off as one of several Titans injured in a brave win. (Jason O’BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS)

“That was a pretty gutsy win. It had that written all over it,” Hasler said.

“The way they played in the first half set it up and then they hung on and kept turning up.

“We’ve now got five halves sitting on the sidelines. We’ve got Brad Davis and Michael Monaghan (on the coaching staff) so we might drag them out of retirement.”

Tanah Boyd (wrist) and Jayden Campbell (knee) are other playmakers currently injured.

Fifita last week rejected a two-year option to stay with the Titans to join the Sydney Roosters on a four-year deal from next year. 

Sections of the home crowd at Robina booed when he took his first hit up on Sunday. He received the odd cheer as well, but the message was clear.

The crowd of 12,125 soon changed their tune as the boom back-rower played his part in the first Titans try when he followed a Kieran Foran bomb and offloaded for Jojo Fifita to score.

Fifita did it all himself for the Titans’ next try, using his giant frame as a battering ram to score from close range.

“His form the last four weeks was like that and today was no different,” Hasler said.

David Fifita making a run.
He may be leaving, but Fifita showed his commitment to the Titans’ cause in a barnstorming display. (Jason O’BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS)

The first half was a cavalcade of dumb football from the Cowboys.

That stupidity went into overdrive when winger Semi Valemei kicked a Foran bomb instead of trying to catch it. Brimson scored and it was 20-0 at the break.

Foran, who put in a barnstorming defensive display, plus Brimson and Jojo Fifita were sensational for the home side.

Brimson saved what appeared to be a certain try to Cowboy winger Kyle Feldt with a desperate effort in the corner after the break.

Jojo Fifita came from nowhere to deny centre Valentine Holmes.

Phil Sami.
Phil Sami succumbed to a first half hamstring strain as the Titans’ injuries mounted. (Jason O’BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS)

After Foran left the field, the Cowboys scored with Jeremiah Nanai chasing a Chad Townsend grubber kick. Townsend put Nanai over for his second and then the veteran half threw a cutout pass onto the chest of winger Kyle Feldt.

Feldt was sailing for the line in the final minutes when a gang of Titans rumbled him over the sideline.

The season of the Cowboys is now in freefall after their fifth loss in a row. 

“We got what we deserved,” Cowboys coach Todd Payten said.

“We showed great fight in the second half and had an opportunity to pinch it but we left four tries begging.”

The defence of the Titans on their goal line was first class and the best they have delivered this season.

Second-rower Beau Fermor had his best game of the season after missing last year with an ACL rupture.