The Eels beat the Titans 32-28 thanks to three penalty goals from Mitchell Moses, with both sides scoring five tries in an epic clash at CommBank Stadium.
Sean Russell scored the first try after some smart prep work from Reed Mahoney and Clint Gutherson on the short side.
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Russell then pounced on a lucky rebound off the post from a Mitchell Moses kick to score a brace.
However, the Titans fought back with a Phillip Sami try to cut the lead to four points.
“It’s raining tries,” said Andrew Voss.
Shaun Lane then scored a try from close range to restore Eels dominance.
However, the Titans refused to leave and Brian Kelly scored to cut the two lead.
In an up and down first half, the Eels scored two more tries with Waqa Blake crashing in from close range, before Russell netted his hat-trick before half-time to make it 24-12.
However, the Titans fought back again with an Erin Clark try to make it 26-18.
The Titans then produced a brilliant long-range try to give Kelly a brace and cut the lead to 26-22.
The Titans scored the first after the break to give Phillip Sami his second of the day to make it 28-26 at the Gold Coast.
A controversial penalty against Isaac Liu allowed Mitchell Moses to lock the scores 28-all with 13 minutes remaining.
Moses then iced two penalty goals late in the game to seal an epic victory for the Eels.
Here are the main takeaways from the game.
MAHONEY AND MOSES SHOW CLASS DESPITE HORROR OF DEFENSIVE PERFORMANCES
The Eels have been brilliant on offense against the Titans, but they’ll have to tackle their defense if they want to win the title this season.
One wonders how far the Eels could have gone had Reed Mahoney not been injured last season and he showed his true worth in his first-round second leg.
Mahoney was a huge loss for the Eels because his kicking game takes so much pressure off him.
The 23-year-old produced a brilliant 40/20 in his return game and controlled the game from the dummy half.
“A 40/20 just rolled out of Reed Mahoney’s boot,” Andrew Voss said.
“He was well inside 40,” Greg Alexander said.
“It’s part of Reed Mahoney’s game which has developed well over the past two seasons.
“What a bonus it is to have a half-dummy who can kick like that.”
Moses was also brilliant against the Titans and controlled play on offense, producing a monster kick that hit the post hard and rebounded favorably to allow Sean Russell to score one of his three tries in the first half. -time.
“Moses kicks out long and he hits the padding hard and Russell gets a brace,” Voss said.
“Some might say he was aiming for the job. It’s something extraordinary. I don’t know if I’ve seen that before.
“It was on the other side of the halfway mark and he has a great long kicking game Mitchell Moses,” Alexander said.
“As good as anyone in the competition. It traveled 55 meters in total. Hit the post and Sean Russell couldn’t have gotten a better rebound.
“Unbelievable, we saw the halves aiming for the post. It is a target at 10 meters but not at 55 meters.
“He has a huge boot on him. We just talked about the importance of the kicking game and whether it’s short, long or attacking, Mitch Moses can do it all.
With Mahoney and Moses leading the ship, the Eels can go far in 2022.
“There were some standout moments from individuals,” Ennis said.
“Mitchell Moses is having a day with the football attacking the Gold Coast line.”
However, the Eels’ defense wasn’t good enough against the Titans.
“It’s a concern for Brad Arthur and the Eels,” Alexander said.
“The Titans made seven line breaks in the first half. They need to improve their defense if they want to challenge the best teams this season.
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RUSSELL ANSWERS PRAYERS FROM THE EELS’ WINGS BEFORE THE WOUND CURSE STRIKES AGAIN
The biggest question mark over the Eels heading into the season was whether they could cover the loss of wingers Haze Dunster and Maika Sivo, but in Sean Russell they unearthed a star.
Russell scored a hat-trick in the first half to prove the Eels still have plenty of firepower until Sivo returns mid-season.
“I’m speechless,” Ennis said after witnessing nine tries in the first half.
“I can’t believe what we saw in those first 40 minutes. In a dry game on Sunday afternoon, both teams love to rock the footy. But nine tries.
“It’s been through and through. Goal-line defense has been a real concern for both teams. The coaches are going to tackle that heavily.
“Parramatta’s side attacked the Titans right side and they scored five tries from that side and Russell was superb.”
Unfortunately, Russell injured his ribs while scoring his third try and the Eels will sweat over his fitness or their wing stocks will be very thin.
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TITANS HALFBACK SHINES AS THE FIFITA DILEMMA STRIKES AGAIN
There were some eyebrows raised when the Titans let their two halves in Ash Taylor and Jamal Fogarty leave the club at the same time, but in his performance against the Eels, Toby Sexton proved he was worth the investment .
“Toby Sexton has been great for the Titans,” Ennis said.
Sexton had two assists and two assists to go with 25 yards on the run and his kicking game was on point both in general play and from the tee.
Meanwhile, Justin Holbrook’s challenge to get the best out of David Fifita continued after he showed his genius combined with quiet spells in the game.
“Here’s that bit of individual genius from David Fifita,” Parker said.
“Fifita just accelerates on that right edge. It goes to the ball play and they score in that left corner.
“David Fifita was contained for most of this half and it was the bust he did at the end of the first half that showed us the signs of the David Fifita we know,” he said. said Alexander.
“If he can get his hands on the ball a bit more and in a better position on the pitch.”
Fifita had 107 yards, four tackle busts, an offload and a line break assist, but he needs to get more on the ball if the Titans are going to be a force this season.
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