Big brother no more: Broncos hit humiliating new low
The Titans broke a 32-year hoodoo and lodged a contender for try-of-the-year as the Gold Coast heaped more misery on the Broncos with an 18-6 win at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday night.
The Titans of 2020 became the first Gold Coast team since 1988 to register two wins in a season against Brisbane.
The 12 point victory was the Titans' third straight win and relegated the Broncos to a ninth consecutive loss.
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The fortunes of the South East Queensland rivals could not be more contrasting this year.
Long considered the "Big Brothers" in the rivalry, the 15th-placed Broncos are a club in crisis and fighting to avoid collecting their first wooden spoon.
The Titans, last year's NRL wooden spooners, are the most improved team of 2020, sitting equal ninth on the ladder following a sensational back half of the season.
The pendulum has well and truly swung in the battle for Queensland supremacy and the derby attracted the NRL's biggest crowd (9729) since the post-COVID resumption.
Coach Justin Holbrook has not only turned the Titans into a competitive outfit, they are now one of the NRL's most entertaining teams.
"It's something I'm proud of, to be part of the first Titans side to beat the Broncos twice in a season is fantastic," Holbrook said.
"To finish the year as the top Queensland side, I'm proud of that. We've got everything going and we want to get better again next year.
"It would have been nice to play a few more (games), we're on a bit of a roll. "I might ring Peter V'landys and ask him to stretch out the season (laughs).
"We have standards we want to live by. The boys have bought into it over time.
"I'm really happy to get a good win at home. I'm really happy for all our fans."
TRY OF THE YEAR?
The Titans were the better team in the opening half but only held a marginal 12-6 lead at the break.
That changed in the 44th minute with a sensational 95m effort that will feature on highlights reels for years to come.
It started with five-eighth Ash Taylor, in his best performance of the season, slicing past a lethargic David Fifita.
Taylor found Jai Arrow before a sequence of passes to Anthony Don and Corey Thompson finished with Young Tonumaipea scoring.
The length-of-the-field try gave the Titans an 18-6 lead and was a blow to Brisbane's already battered confidence.
RAISING THE TITANIC
The improvement in the Titans in the second half of the season has been remarkable.
After the first six rounds the Gold Coast looked destined for back-to-back wooden spoons, with only one win and some heavy defeats.
But Holbrook has kept chipping away and gradually made the Titans a competitive, exciting and determined team their fans can be proud of.
They have won six of their past 12 games and have an opportunity to finish just outside the top eight with matches against Manly and Newcastle to finish the year.
This is great momentum ahead of the 2021 pre-season and the arrival of some big signings in Fifita and Melbourne's Tino Fa'asuamaleaui.
The Titans have looked a different team since fullback AJ Brimson returned from a broken back seven weeks ago.
After only three wins from their first 11 games, the Titans have won four of the seven matches Brimson has played.
Brimson has added an entirely new dimension to the Gold Coast's attack and is a genuine 80-minute threat around the middle of the field.
At halftime he had already racked up 116m and his spark has eased the load of Taylor and halfback Jamal Fogarty, who have both benefited from the new-look playmaking spine
TITANS 18 (Rein, Stone, Tonumaipea & Goals: Taylor 3/3) BRONCOS 6 (Tries: Boyd & Goals: Staggs 1/1) at Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast.
Originally published as Big brother no more: Broncos hit humiliating new low