Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has praised his sides’ resilience and determination after staging a stunning revival to beat Gold Coast at GIO Stadium.
Equalling the club’s record comeback in winning from 22-0 down for the third time in seven years, the Raiders poured on four second-half tries and looked a completely different side as they stifled the Titans and controlled the contest.
The heroic heist on Saturday night was capped in the 75th minute via Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, with the Canberra fullback gathering a Brad Schneider grubber and planting it down inches inside the dead-ball line just minutes from time before Schneider slotted the conversion.
“We’re our own worst enemy,” Stuart told reporters.
“I’ve said it all week, the way we played last week, you can’t turn possession over and give other teams all the football.
“They showed a lot of resilience and determination, because I tell you there’s a lot of football teams that wouldn’t come out and be able to do that.”
The Raiders can thank young centre Matt Timoko for sparking their comeback with two tries in five minutes early in the second half, finishing the contest with 131 total metres with 52 of those post-contact.
He crossed on 45 minutes via an inch-perfect Jack Wighton grubber, before he capitalised on an exceptional zig-zagging run from Tom Starling to get them back within eight points with half an hour to play.
A Schneider cut-out ball found Seb Kris in the corner on, setting the table for Nicoll-Klokstad’s late winner.
Stuart praised Timoko’s huge effort, along with the genuine impact forwards Corey Horsburgh and Emre Guler made off the bench.
“It’s great to see the young players that we put trust in playing well, and we’ve got great trust in many great young guys,” he said.
“I get advice from my senior players because they talk to me about the players they trust, about the players that train well, don’t take shortcuts and now they’re going to be comfortable and trust them on the field.
“And I’ll always take the advice of my senior players.”
The Titans jumped brilliantly when AJ Brimson provided a divine assist for Phillip Sami, while second-rower Beau Fermor produced an assist and a try of his own to build a 16-0 lead.
Their huge start was wrapped with a trademark run from captain Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, plunging over from close range for 22-0.
Fa’asuamaleaui, who again led his side from the front with nearly 120 first-half metres, was left pondering how his side had let slip such a strong position.
The Titans have now conceded the most points of sides that have played three games.
“It’s obviously tough … as a team, we’ve got to make sure we’re doing all the little things right and can’t get comfortable because good teams do that to you,” Fa’asuamaleaui said.
“They find a way … we’ll get back to training, we’ll work on the little things that we need to and make sure we’re back ready next week.”