Five tries inside the opening 25 minutes set the Titans up for a dominant 40-16 victory over the Dolphins in the final game of the 2023 Pre-season Challenge on Sunday night.
Rookie winger Alofiana Khan-Pereira had three tries within the first 12 minutes and a quickfire double for Jojo Fifita followed, as the Gold Coast ran riot at Kayo Stadium in Redcliffe.
Marquee signing Kieran Foran impressed in his first outing in Gold Coast colours, setting up the opening try, while David Fifita produced a handful of special plays on the right edge, which included assisting both tries for his namesake on the wing.
Perfect finish by Khan-Pereira
All up Justin Holbrook's side ran in eight tries, with Khan-Pereira responsible for half of them, and only a poor kicking performance from Tanah Boyd, who nailed four from eight, preventing the Dolphins from further pain on the scoreboard.
It took half an hour for the Dolphins to click into gear, by which time the result was almost beyond doubt, although they can take heart from a better showing in the second 40, which included 10 minutes defending with 12 men due to Felise Kaufusi being sent to the bin.
Match: Dolphins v Titans
Round 2 -
Venue: Kayo Stadium, Redcliffe
- Alofiana Khan-Pereira all but secured his spot on the left wing for Round 1 with a brilliant showing that included four tries.
- Kieran Foran had a quality first outing for his new club, directing play well and setting up the opening try with a floated pass.
Foran floater puts Khan-Pereira in the corner
- Dolphins forward Herman Ese'ese left the field six minutes from full time with what appeared to be an elbow injury.
- Tries in the third, ninth and eleventh minutes of the match saw Alofiana Khan-Pereira propel the Titans to an early 14-0 lead.
- A double to Jojo Fifita followed, with both tries assisted by David Fifita in the second row.
Jojo gets a first half double
- Jack Bostock got the Dolphins on the board just before the break, but at 24-6 the damage was done.
- Felise Kaufusi was sent to the sin bin five minutes into the second half after caught offside following repeat warnings, and the Titans scored seconds later through new recruit Aaron Schoupp.
- Connelly Lemuelu and Kurt Donoghoe dotted down for the Dolphins, in between a Sam McIntyre try for the Gold Coast.
- Khan-Pereira's fourth 12 minutes from time took his side to 40 on the scoreboard.
Play of the Game
An extra effort from new signing Sam Verrills caused the Dolphins to make a meal of their last tackle play, and from there David Fifita got the pistons pumping on a run which had him pulling away from most of the cover defence. Jojo Fifita popped up nicely for this first of his two tries, and it's a play that should have Titans fans smiling ahead of Round 1.
Jojo Fifita makes it 4 in a row
What they said
"I didn't like the way we started in both halves, we gave up too much possession with our penalties and our completion rate ... I thought they were pretty good tonight, (but) I think a few of our guys did fairly well, but we played like a team where this was our first game together and I think it showed." - Dolphins captain Jesse Bromwich.
"It was alright, it was pretty pleasing how we started and I thought that first 25 was pretty dominant and we did what we wanted to do. We fell away with that which was disappointing and came up with errors and fall off tackles right across the board, but I think all-in-all, the way we started that game is exactly what we wanted to do." - Titans five-eighth Kieran Foran.
Marshall-King gives his team a lift
The Dolphins have two weeks to lick their wounds and prepare for a Round 1 meeting with the Roosters, who were impressive through the Pre-season Challenge. The Titans now look ahead to opening their season against the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval.