David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

NRL: Warriors beat Titans, spoil Jarryd Hayne's return

Warriors 24 Titans 14

The Warriors overcame a week of hype surrounding Jarryd Hayne's NRL return and the loss of Issac Luke to continue their run towards the finals with a thrilling win over the Titans on the Gold Coast today.

Both sides scored two tries to be level at 10-10 at the break before three second-half four-pointers secured a vital victory for the visitors at Cbus Super Stadium.

Centre Solomone Kata was the hero for the Warriors, scoring his side's last two tries to give him a clear points decision in his personal duel with his opposite, friend and former Warriors teammate Konrad Hurrell, in his first match against his old side.

Hayne's inclusion in the Titans side dominated the build-up but the former Parramatta Eels fullback, San Francisco 49er, and Fijian Sevens Olympic hopeful had a mixed outing in his first game of league since September 2014.

With the Warriors ahead 16-10, Hayne's pass was intercepted by centre David Fusitu'a who was cut down short of the line by Hurrell, before Kata strolled over on the next play in the 59th minute.

Seven minutes later, Kata intercepted a pass from Titans halfback Ashley Taylor and a mighty fend on wing Anthony Don propelled him on for his second, to make him the Warriors top try-scorer with 12 for the season so far.

The Titans got a sniff in the 74th minute when Don dotted down but the Warriors held their nerve to leapfrog the Titans into seventh spot on the NRL ladder.

"It was an important win," said coach Andrew McFadden.

"It was a little untidy at times and we could have put them away earlier if we had have executed better but we're finding different ways to win and defence probably won it for us.

"We had two defensive tries that were very important in the scheme of the game."

Earlier, a trademark corner dive from Fustiu'a gave the Warriors first points of the match after six minutes following three straight sets on the Gold Coast line.

But the Titans were good enough to take a two-point lead after front-rower Ryan James barged over under the crossbar and Taylor added the extras off the boot.

Momentum swung back to the Warriors with a penalty and a second repeat set in the lead up to their second try to back-rower Bodene Thompson, with Tui Lolohea's conversion making it 10-6 after 28 minutes.

The stoppage provided the chance for Hayne to enter the match at five-eighth and the two-time Dally M winner made an immediate impact with a try-saving tackle on Thompson before out-leaping Lolohea for a high ball at the other end of the ground.

Taylor then put Hurrell over out wide for the Titans second try to level the scores six minutes before halftime.

Early in the second-half the Warriors capitalised on some enterprising attack with Simon Mannering crashing over.

The seesawing contest continued throughout the last quarter before Kata's double but Don's late try ensured the home side kept pressing.

McFadden was pleased with the way his side contained Hayne but said they had not gone overboard in preparing to face the former NSW and Kangaroos star.

"There's no doubt it was a challenge but we handled it really well," he said.

"We put the right amount of attention on Jarryd. We had a look at him as a player and what he can do and we were just prepared to get the best of him and he wasn't far off.

"But we didn't over-do it either and stuck by with what we value most and that got us home."

Warriors 24 (David Fusitu'a, Bodene Thompson, Simon Mannering, Solomone Kata 2 tries, Tui Lolohea 2 cons)
Titans 14 (Ryan James, Konrad Hurrell, Anthony Don tries, Ashley Taylor con)

- NZ Herald

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