Fifita-inspired Titans beat Knights in NRL

·3-min read

Big-money signing David Fifita is proving to be worth every cent after inspiring Gold Coast's 42-16 NRL thumping of Newcastle on Saturday.

Signed on a multi-million dollar, three-year off-season deal, Fifita again provided plenty of bang-for-buck, bullying a depleted Knights at Cbus Super Stadium to notch his first try-scoring hat-trick.

Overall, the rampant Titans ran in eight tries to three, including doubles by Corey Thompson and Patrick Herbert, to register their third win in five games.

Queensland fullback Kalyn Ponga made a successful return from off-season shoulder surgery for Newcastle, notching a 68th-minute try after looking dangerous with the ball all afternoon.

But there was little else to cheer for the visitors, who slumped to their third-straight loss and were again hit by injury.

Ponga's return provided some respite for the Knights who had lost 10 of their 29-strong top squad to injury or suspension in the first four rounds.

But there was more pain to come for the visitors with try-scoring lock Chris Randall taken to hospital with a broken wrist suffered in the 19th minute.

And there may be some anxious moments for Newcastle enforcer Tyson Frizell who was placed on report in the seventh minute for a tackle that sidelined Titans flyer Phillip Sami (concussion).

Fifita skittled Knights players to cross in the 22nd, 32nd and 52nd minutes and ensure Newcastle have still not won on the tourist strip since 2015.

"We are using him well and even when we don't he makes something happen anyway," Titans coach Justin Holbrook said of Fifita.

"There is a lot of improvement in him. He's only just turned 21. He is going to get better. The more he gets more involved, the better a side we will be."

In more good news for the Titans, pivot Ash Taylor (broken hand) returned to combine with No.7 Jamal Fogarty who showed no signs of a corked thigh suffered last round as the hosts ran amok.

The signs were ominous from the outset for the visitors when Ponga started the game by kicking the ball out on the full.

Little else went to plan for Newcastle as Gold Coast jumped to a 12-0 lead after eight minutes and 26-6 by the 32nd.

The Knights only cut the halftime deficit to 26-12 when they took advantage of Gold Coast flyer Herbert being sin binned in the 37th minute.

The Titans brought the 12,494-strong crowd to their feet with three second-half tries, including a remarkable length-of-the-field 62nd-minute effort capped by Herbert after an AJ Brimson bust off a kick re-start.

Knights coach Adam O'Brien's only consolation was next week's return of Bradman Best, Kurt Mann (injury) and Jacob Saifiti (suspension).

"We made some poor concentration errors, schoolboy errors, and weren't prepared to defend them," O'Brien said.

"We are on a journey to maturity."