Canterbury star Josh Reynolds overcame a horror final 20 minutes against Gold Coast to nail the match-winning field goal in his side’s golden point NRL win.
The Bulldogs pivot had earlier appeared to wrap up the match after he set up his second try of the afternoon to give his side a commanding 12-point lead midway through the second half.
In wet conditions at ANZ Stadium, it should’ve been enough.
But Reynolds was then partly responsible for consecutive Titans tries in the space of seven minutes that not only sent the game to extra time, but almost cost his team victory.
The former NSW State of Origin pivot was first marched for backchat in the lead-up to David Mead’s try, then his tapback off a Moses Mbye bomb led to Josh Hoffman racing 80 metres to level the game.
However, in a typical Jekyll-and-Hyde performance, Reynolds stood up to the plate and delivered a clutch 35-metre field goal in the extra period to consolidate Canterbury’s spot in the top eight.
“That was a gutsy play,” coach Des Hasler said post-game.
“He would’ve been very lonely out there at one stage, but he held it together and came up with the big play when he had to. Josh’s last three weeks, he’s been really strong with his footy.”
But Hasler refused to allow his team to glow in the aftermath of their thrilling win, expressing his disappointment at almost blowing another halftime lead.
Just as they did a week prior, the Bulldogs held the advantage after a dominant first half, only to again clock off midway through the second and allow their opposition back into the game.
Twice the Titans were in position to steal the win, but couldn’t land the killer punch.
“We didn’t manage it as good as we should have at 20-8,” Hasler said.
“You go on with the game from there and that’s what we need to get better at. We didn’t close the game out last week and we very nearly paid a heavy penalty for not closing the game out this week.
“That’s something we have to be mindful of and something we can’t let happen again. Our lapses are totally self-inflicted.”
After a bright start to the year, the Titans have now lost four straight and are hanging onto eighth spot.
Not for the first time this year, Titans coach Neil Henry was rapt with his team’s effort but bemoaned a poor first half.
“We’ve had a few this year where we were in games or coming back. I suppose 20-8 down again, we’re chasing points,” he said.