Gold Coast have secured an emphatic 22-6 NRL win over the Wests Tigers on a damp Sunday afternoon at Leichhardt Oval.
The Titans charged to their sixth win of the season in front of a crowd of 8929, despite halfback Albert Kelly limping off in the 23rd minute with a possible leg fracture and the sin-binning of co-captain Nate Myles in the first half.
The Tigers smashed the Titans 42-12 in round two, but a repeat never looked likely in the two teams’ first encounter at Leichhardt since 2008.
In a fast-paced and gritty affair, the Titans controlled the field from the start against a largely rudderless Tigers attack that couldn’t convert opportunities when it counted.
The visitors weren’t takingany chances, opting to take a penalty goal attempt in the third minute after Bodene Thompson was penalised for a late tackle on Aidan Sezer.
Sezer missed the kick but went on to open the Titans’ account four minutes later, scoring under the posts following a tremendous run from Kelly.
Sezer followed that with a successful penalty goal in the 13th minute.
Kelly was on fire, soon flying upfield again after intercepting an attempted pass from Luke Brooks inside the Titans’ 10-metre mark, but the halfback was sidelined after 23 minutes with a leg injury.
The Titans were forced down to 12 men when co-captain Myles was sin-binned for a professional foul on Martin Taupau.
The next set saw the Tigers controversially denied a try when Tim Simona went over in the 24th minute, but referee Gerard Sutton ruled Thompson had obstructed Sezer.
Bird briefly took over kicking duties when Sezer appeared to sustain a foot injury, slotting a penalty kick in the 29th minute.
Five minutes before the break, Anthony Don scored under the posts after Paul Carter broke the run of the play to charge down a Braith Anasta kick.
Down 10-0 at the interval, the Tigers responded when centre Tim Simona pounced on the ball in the corner after a Blake Austin kick that ricocheted off Bird.
Simona was put on report five minutes later for a dangerous lifting tackle on Sezer, on a controversial day that also saw Carter on report for high contact.
The Titans replied in the 53rd minute to pull ahead 22-6, courtesy of a diving Bird.
Bird narrowly missed another penalty kick in the 66th minute but it had little impact as the visitors had already sealed the deal.