The Broncos overcame a 20 point halftime deficit to stun the Titans 35-24 in a dramatic local derby at Suncorp Stadium and move into the top four.
Gold Coast dominated the opening 30 minutes and led 24-4 at halftime but capitulated in the second half to concede three tries in six minutes as the Broncos stormed home.
The momentum shift coincided with the loss of halfback Toby Sexton and sin-binning of second-rower Sam McIntyre and centre Esan Marsters just before halftime.
Marsters binning takes Titans to 11
Titans captain Tino Fa'asuamaleaui carried the ball for 177 metres from 17 runs in the first half and finished the match with a game high 261 metres from 23 carries, while making 32 tackles, but he had little support.
It was the second time this season that Gold Coast have surrendered a 20 point lead, while the Broncos have now won six consecutive matches - including the past two without captain Adam Reynolds.
It is a remarkable turn-around for Brisbane after three seasons near the bottom of the NRL ladder and they have joined the third-placed Cowboys on 16 points, with Cronulla and Parramatta two points behind but yet to play this weekend.
Prop Payne Haas was booed by Broncos fans after asking for a release earlier this week and he told Channel Nine: "When I heard the boos come out when I ran the ball it rattled me and I had to compose myself and do my job for the team".
Match: Broncos v Titans
Round 12 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
- The Titans dominated the opening stages of the match and Jayden Campbell capitalised on the advantage of an extra man created by Jordan Riki's sinbinning for a late tackle on Toby Sexton to score in the 10th minute.
- Campbell dummied past rookie Broncos halfback Ezra Mam after a sweeping backline movement featuring seven Gold Coast players.
Fancy footwork from Campbell opens the scoring
- Sexton, who leads the NRL for forced goal line drop outs, was having a huge impact on the match and laid on a 17th minute try for winger Corey Thompson with a long cut-out pass.
- Five-eighth AJ Brimson then pounced on a Sexton grubber to plant the ball just before the dead ball line for a 23rd minute try that put the Titans ahead 18-0.
Sexton pulling all the right strings
- The Titans appeared set to extend their lead as they attacked Brisbane's line but Selwyn Cobbo intercepted a Sexton pass and momentum completely changed.
- Sexton was forced from the field with his arm in a sling after suffering a shoulder injury, while second-rower Sam McIntyre was sent to the sin-bin for refusing to release Cobbo to play-the-ball.
- Former Kiwis centre Esan Marsters joined him in the 33rd minute for a professional foul at the end of the ensuing set as the Titans tried to hold the Broncos out.
- Cobbo scored to put Brisbane back in the game in the 34th minute but strike forward David Fifita posted a quick response when he ran out of dummy half to give Gold Coast a 24-4 halftime lead.
Fifita does it all himself
- Broncos winger Corey Oates bombed a 43rd minute try after making a mid-air strip on former team-mate Jamayne Isaako only to drop the ball as he tried to ground it.
- However, the floodgates opened soon after as Te Maire Martin, Jordan Riki and Herbie Farnworth all crossed for tries within a six minute period midway through the second half.
- Riki's try was from the re-start after Martin's 52nd minute try, with Brisbane utility Corey Paix charging onto a short kick-off and sending the second-rower racing 40 metres to score.
- Fa'asuamaleaui took responsibility for the short kick off, with the star forward saying it was his call and Isaako had wanted to kick long.
Riki scores off the kickoff
- Sexton returned to the fray 17 minutes before fulltime but he was unable to stem the tide and the Broncos grabbed the lead for the first time in the match after Mam sent Oates racing down the sideline and he kicked in field for second-rower Kurt Capewell.
- Mam then scored a try of his own in the 75th minute to seal a remarkable win for the Broncos and five-eighth Tyson Gamble kicked a 79th minute field goal.
Mam crosses for his first NRL try
Play of the game
The Titans were leading 18-0 and looked set to go further ahead when Selwyn Cobbo intercepted a Toby Sexton pass and after stepping his way through the defence was held down by Sam McIntyre, who was sin-binned. With Esan Marsters joining McIntyre just a minute later the Broncos gained momentum and stormed home.
McIntyre sent to the bin
What they said
"We just wanted the Broncos to run out in the second half. The energy wasn't there, the commitment to each other wasn't there so it was a good turn around for us. Half time couldn't come quick enough for me. The Titans were playing some good footy ... but our guys just weren't in there physically. We weren't too much worried about the scoreboard, it was more what we needed to do as a team, particularly with our defence. There have been a few distractions this week for the playing group and I thought they came together beautifully in that second 40. They got around Payne and it was a really good second half,": Broncos coach Kevin Walters.
Broncos: Round 12
"It's going to take a while to get over that. We led 24-4. I'm blaming our whole side, I'm blaming the two stupid sin-bins. Our two sin bins were just dumb when we were in complete control of the game. We were in a terrific spot, we just found a way to throw it away, which is hard to take. We let our club and our fans down. We played our biggest rivals and no doubt we would have had a lot of Gold Coast fans so happy at 24-4 and with the finishing score I don't expect any of us to feel good about it": Titans coach Justin Holbrook.
Titans: Round 12
The Titans host the Cowboys at Cbus Super Stadium on Thursday night, while the Broncos are one of the teams with a bye in the lead up to the opening State of Origin.
Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook will be sweating on the fitness of halfback Toby Sexton after he was forced from the field with a shoulder injury late in the first half, as five-eighth AJ Brimson is likely to be in the Maroons squad.
Captain Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and strike forward David Fifita are others expected to be in the Queensland team, along with prop Moeaki Fotuaika if he is fit.
Brisbane skipper Adam Reynolds is expected to return for his side's next match in round 13 after missing the past two matches with a groin injury.
Broncos forward Thomas Flegler was placed on report for a hip drop on Fa'asuamaleaui and any charge is likely to carry a suspension due to his previous judiciary record.