NRL: Titans down injury hit Sharks

Albert Kelly of the Titans runs the ball during the round one NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Titans. Photo / Getty Images
Albert Kelly of the Titans runs the ball during the round one NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Titans. Photo / Getty Images

Cronulla's difficult start to the 2014 NRL season continued on Monday with the Gold Coast recording an 18-12 win over the Sharks at Remondis Stadium.

With coach Shane Flanagan failing in his appeal to overturn a 12-month ban from the NRL last week, the Sharks, already without Todd Carney, Jeff Robson, Beau Ryan and Chris Heighington, lost talismanic skipper Paul Gallen with a potentially serious ankle injury.

Gallen, who was celebrating his 233rd appearance for the Sharks - second behind club great Andrew Ettingshausen - was helped off late in the first half after being held up in a tackle by Titans duo Luke Bailey and Matt White.

The Titans were deserving winners, claiming the two points with a William Zillman try nine minutes from time following a smart grubber-kick from former Shark Albert Kelly.

John Cartwright's side dominated the opening exchanges but had nothing to show for their dominance and the hosts took the lead against the run of play when new signing Tinirau Arona darted over from close range.

Michael Gordon added the extras to open up a 6-0 lead, but the outstanding Greg Bird, another former Shark, helped level the scores when he bulldozed his way over the line after 25 minutes before Kelly raced away with 90-metre interception for four points.

Titans five-eighth Aidan Sezer missed the kick, giving the visitors a 10-6 lead at halftime.

The second half saw the Sharks control the early passages of play and they regained the lead when Wade Graham's effort - disallowed by the on-field officials - was overruled by the video referee and Gordon kicked the goal.

A Sezer penalty put the Titans back on level terms before fullback Zillman got the final touch to Kelly's kick to give his side a winning start to the new campaign.

Titans prop Luke Douglas set a new record with his 195th successive NRL match.

Gallen said he was confident of a return to action within three to four weeks and believes the problem isn't as bad as a similar injury he picked up earlier in his career.

"It's a terrible start to the year, I could feel it. It just got stuck. It's one of those things," Gallen said.

"I hard something crack, so I knew I did something straight away.

"I did it in a trial game in the 2006-07 season, so I knew what it was. They said then I'd miss six weeks but I only missed three to four games. I don't think it's as bad as that."

Titans coach John Cartwright was delighted with his side's efforts and said he thought the result should have been more comprehensive with an Albert Kelly try ruled out in the second half with the video referee ruling he lost control of the ball.

"I can't see how they come up with the decision they did," he said.

"I saw no separation, just the ball coming down on the line. But you get some good ones and get some bad ones."

- AAP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 26 Dec 2014 11:24:13 Processing Time: 215ms