Michael Burgess

Michael Burgess is the football and rugby league writer for the Herald on Sunday.

NRL: Titans count the cost after battering by Knights

Kurt Gidley of the the Knights kicks the ball during the match against the Gold Coast Titans. Photo / Getty Images
Kurt Gidley of the the Knights kicks the ball during the match against the Gold Coast Titans. Photo / Getty Images

Gold Coast sustained some serious damage on the scoreboard and in the injury department as Newcastle logged their first away win of the NRL season at Skilled Park yesterday.

Coming back from a 6-0 halftime deficit was always going to be tough for the Titans, who lost lock Ashley Harrison (ankle), hooker Matt Srama (hand) and utility Luke O'Dwyer (broken jaw) in the first 10 minutes of the 30-6 loss.

The serious string of injuries reduced Gold Coast to 14 players after coach John Cartwright had already been forced to make a pre-game change on the left wing with Steve Michaels replacing Kevin Gordon (hamstring).

And when Knights interchange forward David Fa'alogo picked up the scraps after a mid-air collision in the 44th minute following a Jarrod Mullen bomb, the visitors looked well placed to go right on with the job at 12-0.

The depleted Titans rallied briefly with halfback Albert Kelly sprinting 35 metres to score in the 48th minute after replacement hooker Beau Falloon skipped out of dummy half and put William Zillman into a hole. But the comeback proved short-lived.

Knights winger James McManus, who suffered a head cut during the physical encounter, found his way across the try line twice in five minutes to push the margin out to 24-6 after 64 minutes to effectively seal the result.

Harrison could be in doubt for the first State of Origin match in Sydney on June 5, with similar ankle injuries requiring four to six weeks to heal.

Medical staff initially called for a stretcher after he was crunched in a three-man tackle by Travis Waddell, Alex McKinnon and Kade Snowden but he was able to walk off the field, following treatment.

Srama might have suffered a compound finger fracture.

O'Dwyer, the last of the trio to exit the game in the first half, walked to the sideline with blood streaming from his mouth.

Canterbury ended a four-game NRL losing streak yesterday.

The Bulldogs downed Cronulla 24-8 in an uninspiring match in Gosford, with doubles to Mitch Brown and Sam Perrett enough to lift last year's grand finalists off the bottom of the ladder.

The Sharks have lost four straight and have very little to smile about - save for an impressive return from injury by five-eighth Todd Carney.

Carney and Bulldogs No 6 Josh Reynolds both had key games to breathe life into the NSW five-eighth debate.

Sydney Roosters playmaker James Maloney looked to have claimed favouritism but incumbent Carney cannot be discounted.

Knights 30
Titans 6

- AAP

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