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The Gold Coast Titans have produced a gutsy performance to down Melbourne in a high-scoring contest in the first of two Suncorp Stadium NRL matches tonight, recording a late 38-36 win courtesy of a Konrad Hurrell try.
This was the ultimate definition of momentum dictating a contest. Both sides had dream runs of form throughout the game, the Titans the first on the board through Ryan James after Ash Taylor missed an early penalty goal attempt.
Slater and Cronk had different ideas though, and wrestled control of the game in Melbourne's favour by the 25 minute mark, both crossing the line to put the nominal home side up 12-6.
Cronk didn't rest on his laurels, bagging his second try before the half hour mark, but 18-6 is where the Storm's golden run ended in the first half, with Leivaha Pulu and Anthony Don both crossing before the break to bring the margin back to just two points. The Storm were 18-16 leaders - and could've had more had a Cooper Cronk no try not been vetoed by the Bunker for a downtown offside.
Hurrell was the late hero in the game but his 79th minute matchwinner was his second - he opened the second half scoring after 45 minutes after a Bunker review, and the momentum swing in the Titans' favour continued in the 56th with Chris McQueen getting over the line. Elgey's conversions had the Titans ten in front and looking good to go on with the job.
Enter another momentum shift. Will Chambers found Jarryd Hayne out in defence at the 65th minute, before Joe Stimson drew Melbourne back level. Cam Smith's second conversion of the half was what put the Storm in front - and they didn't stop there! Cheyse Blair grabbed another for the Storm and a 36-28 lead had the Titans shocked, trailing by eight and staring at another loss.
Time to dig deep? You betcha. Tyrone Roberts pulled a try back in the 75th, reducing the deficit to 36-34... and then enter Hurrell the hero. A clever kick to the corner saw Don put the ball back inside for Hurrell who burrowed over out wide.
The conversion was inconsequential and the Gold Coast held out the Storm's last 45 second crusade to record a remarkable victory in Brisbane.
A buoyant Gold Coast will head home to Robina to host Manly next Saturday, while the Storm are off to Perth for a showdown with South Sydney on Sunday evening next week.
Melbourne Storm 36 - Gold Coast Titans 38
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Halftime Score: Melbourne Storm 18 Gold Coast Titans 16
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Konrad Hurrell
2 points - Cameron Smith
1 points - Ryan James
MELBOURNE STORM (36)
Tries: Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk (2), William Chambers, Joe Stimson, Cheyse Blair
Conversions: Cameron Smith (6/6)
GOLD COAST TITANS (38)
Tries: Ryan James, Leivaha Pulu, Anthony Don, Konrad Hurrell (2), Chris McQueen, Tyrone Roberts
Conversions: Kane Elgey (5/7)
Penalty Goals: Ashley Taylor (0/1)