The Titans have overturned another tumultuous week to record one of the most courageous wins in the club's history, holding off a fast-finishing Broncos to win 26-18 at Suncorp Stadium.
Brisbane suffered a major blow when half Tom Dearden was forced from the field after just six minutes, the No.7 suffering a low-grade high ankle sprain that will likely require a week or two on the sidelines.
It was a major disruption to their attacking cohesion that struggled to get beyond a 75 per cent completion rate for the entire 80 minutes but it paled in comparison to what the Titans had to overcome.
With star half Ash Taylor granted leave for personal reasons mid-week and reports surfacing that Tyrone Peachey wants out of the club, the Titans lost Bryce Cartwright prior to kick-off and seemed little hope of dragging themselves from the foot of the Telstra Premiership ladder.
Match: Broncos v Titans
Round 13 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
- LIVE PASS
But they got on the back of starting props Moeaki Fotuaika and Jarrod Wallace, replacement half Ryley Jacks continually went deep to the line before passing and centre Brian Kelly scored two tries for just their third win in 14 meetings with the Broncos at Suncorp in front of a crowd of 30,048.
With Dearden absent for all but six minutes the Titans took advantage of a disorganised Broncos team to lead 18-6 at half-time.
Two turnovers early in the tackle count threatened to undermine Gold Coast's strong start to the game but Brisbane centre Gehamat Shibasaki was denied in the 12th minute when he failed to ground a grubber in the in-goal and the Titans made good use of a seven-tackle set to score at the opposite end.
AJ Brimson grubber-kicked for himself at the end of the set, the ball taking a left turn into the arms of centre Brian Kelly who dived over to post first points.
Titans captain Tyrone Roberts doubled his side's advantage when he squeezed through Payne Haas and Matt Lodge and rounded Darius Boyd to score his first try against the Broncos, the conversion from in front giving the visitors a shock 12-0 lead through 24 minutes.
The Broncos swung momentum on the back of an inspirational passage by Jake Turpin.
Shifted from hooker to halfback following the departure of Dearden, Turpin jolted the ball free from Titans forward Keegan Hipgrave on tackle one and shortly thereafter scored his side's opening try, converting smart play from Andrew McCullough to push past three Titans defenders to score in the 28th minute.
Brisbane went close to scoring again before Kotoni Staggs was bundled into touch in the north-west corner but it was the Titans who struck again, Jesse Arthars delivering a one-handed flick pass for Anthony Don to score in the corner a minute from the break.
A contentious penalty on a Tevita Pangai challenge on Ryley Jacks gave the Titans the opportunity to move a further two points in front 15 minutes into the second term but it was Kelly's second 16 minutes from full time that sparked early celebrations, Kelly diving over from dummy-half after Don was brought down inches short.
Any excitement on the Titans' behalf was put squarely in check when Staggs took advantage of back-to-back sets and a two-man overlap to score wide out on the left, the Jamayne Isaako conversion reducing the deficit to 14 points will 11 minutes to play.
It energised what had been an otherwise lacklustre Broncos performance, the Titans absorbing blow after blow in a desperate attempt not to let another lead slip through their fingers.
Under a weight of possession Brimson got his body under milestone man Alex Glenn to hold him up over the line in the 73rd minute but the Broncos finally crossed again two minutes from full-time, Turpin again the spark in the lead-up to Anthony Milford scoring under the posts.
But on this occasion the clock proved to be the friend of Gold Coast as they hung on gamely to record a morale-boosting win.