Not one but TWO Chad Townsend field goals has seen the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks escape from Robina with a 10-9 victory over the Gold Coast Titans tonight.
It was a wet night at Cbus Super Stadium, ensuring points were hard to come by for both sides. The hosts struck first through a Michael Gordon penalty goal six minutes in, but that was cancelled out and then some when Valentine Holmes crossed out wide for the Sharks. It would be Gordon who handed the four-pointer to the visitors after he failed to deal with a Townsend high ball, instead Jesse Ramien scooped up the scraps and laid it on for Holmes who strolled around to open the tryscoring for the evening.
Cronulla would double their luck later in the half when Edrick Lee took advantage of an overlap on the Sharks' left side to score out wide. Neither try was converted by Townsend which meant they only led by six points.
Townsend found himself with the ball in front of the sticks shortly before the break and opted for a one-pointer, anticipating a close, low-scoring contest. Subsequently he slotted it between the sticks and the Sharks found themselves seven ahead at the change of ends.
Keen to put a scrappy first half behind them, the Titans came out strong in the second half and managed to notch their name on the tryscoring list when Mitch Rein burrow over, although the Bunker awarded it because there was insufficient evidence to overturn the referee's on-field 'try' call. No camera angle showed grounding but nor did it show him not grounding it either - so the decision stood and with Gordon converting Rein's effort, the Titans trailed 9-8.
What followed was a war of attrition for most of the second half, with the game seemingly ready to burst at any time. It wasn't until the final five minutes that the scoreboard attendant would be called into action when Ash Taylor threw over an equalising field goal to bring scores level at 9-all.
Townsend then cancelled this out in a frantic final few minutes when he kicked his second field goal, ensuring the visitors converted their halftime lead into a fulltime victory and head back home to the Shire with two more competition points.
Cronulla's journey home sees them meet Parramatta in a week from now at Southern Cross Group Stadium, while the Gold Coast are off to the nation's capital where they'll meet the Raiders on Saturday.