Haumole Olakau’atu was unstoppable as the Sea Eagles secured four straight wins by fending off a late Titans fightback on Saturday night.
The emerging rower was the man for the Sea Eagles early on, scoring two tries in the first half as Manly took an 18-point lead before leading by 20 at the main break. He finished with two line jumps, five tackle jumps and 100 yards running.
But three unanswered tries for the Titans in the second half set up a thrilling final 15 minutes as Manly held on for a 26-18 win.
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The Gold Coast’s two most damaging forwards, David Fifita and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, each attempted a late try to bring the Titans to life as it looked like Manly would walk away with a comfortable victory.
In the end, the mistakes proved crucial for the Titans.
They finished the game with 10 overall, two of which came late as the deficit they were chasing was six points.
The Sea Eagles froze the game with five minutes remaining when Fa’asuamaleaui was penalized for being in an offside position during a desperate defensive tackle on the goal line, Manly taking the two points to carry the advance to eight.
Gold Coast was denied a try in the last minute when Beau Fermor was ruled offside before the withdrawal.
For the Titans, the loss marks their third loss in four games.
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