Warriors 26 (Jesse Arthars try 4 min, Josh Curran 7 min, 35m, Dallin Watene-Zelenziak 13 min, Viliami Vailea 52 min tries; Reece Walsh 2 goals, Chanel Harris-Tavita goal) Titans 27 (AJ Brimson 28 min, Beau Fermor 44 min, Jayden Campbell 73 min, Paul Turner 75 min tries; Tanah Boyd 5 goals, field goal). HT: 20-4
On report: Jarrod Wallace (Titans), Eliesa Katoa (Warriors).
The Warriors have suffered a loss that only they could, leaking 14 points in the final seven minutes then conceding a field goal in the 83rd minute to lose an extra-time thriller 27-26 to the Titans.
It’s perhaps a fitting way for the Warriors to end a season that brought with it so much disappointment.
Up 26-12 with seven minutes to go, the Warriors had this game in the bag, but capitulated in spectacular style as the Titans got the game into golden point from a seemingly impossible position.
Each team failed with their first attempt at a field goal, but the crucial moment came when Addin Fonua-Blake lost the ball by the halfway line. The Titans marched down the field and Boyd kicked the winning point.
It was a crushing way for the Warriors to end their season, but at least a line can now be put through their 2022 campaign.
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The Titans should have scored in the third minute when Phillip Sami broke through the Warriors defence, but his pass out wide to an open Greg Marzhew was a shocker and the opportunity wasted.
Straight after the Warriors were on the board, with Reece Walsh, in his final game for the club, throwing a superb cutout pass to Jesse Arthars for the try.
It was likely Arthars’ last ever try for the club, as the Broncos have informed the Warriors they want him back next year.
The Warriors struck again a few minutes later with Josh Curran going in for his third try of the season.
The early domination was continued by Dallin Watene-Zelezniak scoring a wonderful diving try in the 13th minute. The Warriors were up 16-0 already, but every veteran Warriors fan knew this wasn’t game over.
The expected rain started to fall midway through the first half and around that time momentum changed, with the Titans getting into their groove and creating damage up the middle.
On the back of that, AJ Brimson crashed through three tacklers for his ninth try of the season, but crucially just before the break Curran beat Brimson to ground the ball in goal for another try and with the conversion the Warriors lead 20-4 at halftime.
The Warriors gave up a bizarre try early in the second half. Players stood around thinking the ball had been knocked on, but Beau Fermor played on, picked up the ball and touched it down over the line.
However, again the Warriors were able to respond with Viliami Vailea running 60m to score in the 53rd minute.
In the final seven minutes Jayden Campbell and ex-Warrior Paul Turner scored tries for the Titans, with the conversions making it a two-point game.
With a minute to go Tanah Boyd kicked a penalty to level the scores and without Shaun Johnson on the field, the Warriors were always unlikely to kick the winning field goal.
The big moment
Addin Fonua-Blake losing the ball by the halfway line put the Titans into a perfect position to win this game and even though they’re an ordinary team, they didn’t waste that opportunity.
7.5/10: Two footy teams with nothing to play for were prepared to chance their arms and it gave the 20,512 spectators at the stadium a cracking footy game to watch.
The big picture
The Warriors finish 15th on the ladder this season with that defeat.
Bunty Afoa, the Warriors’ super sub was outstanding off the bench, having his best game of the season. Timely for him as he’s about to start negotiations for a new contract.