Warriors star signing Kieran Foran helped inspire his new teammates to a gutsy 28-22 NRL victory at Mt Smart Stadium today.
Foran helped set-up a first-half try to David Fusitu'a and scored a vital second-half four-pointer himself, as the Warriors fought back from a 10-point halftime deficit to level the scores at 22-22 inside the final quarter.
With golden-point looming, both sides tried to work a field goal with attempts from Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson and Titans playmaker Kane Elgey spraying wide of the posts, before back-rower Ryan Hoffman's unlikely attempt fortuitously earned a repeat set.
Foran's influence continued soon after the restart when he combined with Johnson to send Hoffman charging over for the match-winning four-pointer two minutes from fulltime.
The former Manly and Parramatta playmaker was relieved and pleased to successfully complete his club debut and first match in almost a year, as the Warriors snapped a three-game losing streak to claim their second win of the season.
"It was a pleasing performance from the boys," said Foran.
"We didn't defend the way we would have liked but it was a good feeling to hang in the match and finally get the two points.
"I got into the flow of things and started to get back into the way footy's played and back doing something I love.
"I really enjoy playing rugby league and it's something I've really missed over the past 12 months so it was great to be back out there."
They did it the hard way, after opening the scoring through Johnson's early try they quickly let the advantage slip, with the Titans snatching a pair of tries to Dale Copley and Daniel Vidot out wide on the left.
Fusitu'a's score saw the Warriors reclaim a two-point lead only for Elgey to score twice in three minutes to put the visitors ahead 22-12 lead at halftime.
Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck scored a much-needed try early in the second-half that set the Warriors on course for victory and afterwards was pleased both with Foran's contribution and the cohesion among the side's key playmakers.
"When he (Foran) steps up we just run off him, because that allows Shaun and I to run free and find opportunities, and Foz directs us," said Tuivasa-Sheck.
"If there's an opportunity, Shaun and I can jump on it with all three of us."
The Warriors were able to dominate possession and territory throughout the second-half but despite some promising attack, poor execution and determined Titans defence held them at bay.
Foran provided the circuit-breaker, bringing the crowd and his teammates to life after breaking through to dive over for their fourth try, with Johnson's conversion setting up a heart-stopping finish.
All eyes were on Foran to cap a fairy-tale return off the boot, but it was Hoffman who clinched the result and sent the crowd into raptures, with Johnson's fourth conversion icing the cake.
Foran admitted to being short of a gallop after such a long layoff but was already looking forward to next Sunday's home encounter against the Eels outfit he captained last year.
"I'm sore but everything's pulled up reasonably well," he said. "The shoulder held up good which I'm pleased with and the hamstring pulled through ok.
"I'll just manage it through the week and hopefully build it up through the strength work and be fine for Sunday."
Warriors 28 (Shaun Johnson, David Fusitu'a, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Kieran Foran, Ryan Hoffman tries, Johnson 4 cons)
Titans 22 (Dale Copley, Daniel Vidot, Kane Elgey 2 tries, Ash Taylor 2, Tyrone Roberts cons)