A double to big-money recruit David Fifita has lifted Gold Coast to a 26-18 NRL win over his former club Brisbane.
Broncos playmaker Anthony Milford was nothing more than a speed bump in defence for his ex-teammate as Fifita scored in either half to secure the Titans their first win of the 2021 campaign.
Fifita opened his Titans’ account late in the first half when he shrugged off Milford and Tesi Niu on his way to the tryline.
That four-pointer sparked a three-try barrage inside seven minutes for the home team to break open the game with Erin Clark and Jaimin Jolliffe both scoring to send the Titans into the sheds with a healthy 22-6 lead.
It was that man Fifita who extended the lead in the second half, crashing past Milford again before dragging Jamayne Isaako over the line.
The 21-year-old left the field in the 63rd minute for a head-injury assessment after Coates had got a try back for Brisbane but returned in the final few minutes to celebrate with his new teammates.
Fifita ended the game with 104 running metres from 12 carries, one of four Titans’ forwards to record over 100 metres.
Titans coach Justin Holbrook was thrilled for Fifita after he struggled to overcome an infection in the lead-up to last week’s loss to the Warriors.
“I felt sorry for him last week with the criticism he came under,” Holbrook said.
“If you’d seen the week he had, you might not have been so tough.
“We get judged on the 80 minutes so I’m okay with that but just happy for him that he had a really good week, and then showed what he’s capable of tonight.”
There was also a big game in his 100th appearance for the Titans from five-eighth Ash Taylor, who forced three errors with strong defence.
Young backrower Jordan Riki was the standout for the Broncos, recording 177 running metres with four tackles busts and a linebreak.
Prop Tevita Pangai Jr was also impressive in a losing team, capping his display with a late consolation try for the visitors but the once-mighty club has now posted 13 straight defeats in a run stretching back to the middle of last year.
“13’s a lucky number isn’t it? So we might use that next week,” Broncos coach Kevin Walters said.
“I can’t worry about what happened last year. We’re none from two this year.
“Certainly been in both games. They fought back in that second half again, which is a good thing, that’s something came out of it but there’s plenty to work on.
“You can’t forget … we did finish last and we finished last for a reason.”
Gold Coast head to Townsville next weekend to face North Queensland while the Broncos’ quest for a much-needed win moves back to Suncorp Stadium to play the last team they beat, Canterbury.