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Reynolds goes beyond 2000 as Titans botch golden chance to upset Broncos in nail-biter

Adam Reynolds became the eighth player in premiership history to hit the 2000-point milestone as the Broncos held off the Titans in a thriller at Cbus Super Stadium.

The Gold Coast had a gilt-edged chance to steal the two competition points from their local rivals but Phil Sami fumbled the ball over the line 10 minutes from full-time and Brisbane hung on for a 16-12 triumph.

Brisbane have reclaimed fifth spot and remain in the hunt for a top-four berth heading into the final seven rounds while the Titans’ slightly not-as-terrible for-and-against record is the only thing keeping them ahead of the Wests Tigers in the battle to avoid the wooden spoon.

They are now 11-6 for the season, meaning they’ve racked up more wins in 2022 than their combined tally from their previous two seasons.

Broncos forward Jordan Riki was placed on report for a high shot on Titans debutant JoJo Fifita midway through the first half.

The scoring stalemate broke in the 29th minute after fullback AJ Brimson made a long-range kick return which led to new five-eighth Tanah Boyd winning the race to a little grubber behind the line from halfback Toby Sexton.

Brisbane left it late but finally struck back seconds from the siren when winger Deloise Hoeter scooped up a Reynolds cut-out pass to dive over in the corner. 

After a minor scuffle between several players, Reynolds landed the sideline to make it 6-6 at the break.

TItans prop Jaimin Jolliffe rolled over the stripe four minutes after the resumption and despite Brisbane’s protests over a double movement, his second career try was given the green light by the bunker.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 16: Adam Reynolds of the Broncos runs the ball during the round 18 NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Brisbane Broncos at Cbus Super Stadium, on July 16, 2022, in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Adam Reynolds. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Brisbane hit back again when winger Jordan Pereira collected a bounced pass, stepped sharply off his right boot to cut the gap to two by the 50th minute. 

They were in front a few minutes later when a Beau Fermor error gifted them field position and Tyson Gamble offloaded for Reynolds to make it 16-12. 

The try lifted Reynolds to 2000 career points with the former Rabbitoh becoming just the eighth player in premiership history to reach the milestone. He is still a long way shy of record holder Hazem El Masri’s 2786 but overtaking that tally is not entirely out of the question for the 32-year-old half. 

“I didn’t know that, it’s obviously pleasing. It’s something I’ll look back on at the end of my career but for now I’ll hopefully keep scoring some more points,” he told Fox League after the game.

Second-gamer Zac Hosking ran off Reynolds to get through a staggered defensive line in the 65th minute to stretch out to score what looked like his first NRL try but the bunker denied it because the ball grazed the grass before touched down, constituting the slightest of double movements. 

The bunker again intervened in the 70th minute when the Titans thought they had levelled the scores when Sami sprinted onto a Sexton grubber but the replays showed he bobbled the putdown.

Fifita continued his impressive debut performance with a kick return from his dead-ball line into the Brisbane half late in the piece to give the Titans another opportunity to snatch victory from the visitors but they fell short at the end of the set.

Titans coach Justin Holbrook followed the Maroons’ playbook by starting Tino Fa’asuamaleaui from the bench while the Broncos opted to rest representative trio Corey Oates, Kurt Capwell and Pat Carrigan, with young winger Selwyn Cobbo, who was knocked out early in Origin III, had been given the weekend off when the team was named on Tuesday.

“We were a bit unlucky not to get the win there but we’re improving. We’ve just got to make sure our defence is good every week,” Fa’asuamaleaui said.

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