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NRL 2021, North Queensland Cowboys v Gold Coast Titans round 3 match report

A near-unstoppable 80 minutes on the left edge from David Fifita has helped the Titans to a huge 44-8 win over the Cowboys at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Sunday evening.

A near-unstoppable 80 minutes on the left edge from David Fifita has helped the Titans to a huge 44-8 win over the Cowboys at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Sunday evening.

The Titans' left edge had a field day with Fifita alone accounting for a try, four offloads, 11 tackle busts and 178 run metres, with the loss of halfback Ash Taylor to a broken hand doing little to disrupt the form they discovered against Brisbane last week.

The loss of Cowboys captain Michael Morgan to his troublesome shoulder forced Todd Payten into a reshuffle, with Val Holmes into his preferred fullback position, Scott Drinkwater into the halves and Justin O'Neill called up at centre pushing Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow out to the wing.

While both Holmes and Drinkwater had a few nice moments in terms of their ball-playing, it was a night to forget for the home side as their pack was totally outmatched by the Titans big men and the playmakers had few opportunities to create.

They also lost lock Reuben Cotter to a head knock in the 27th minute as the weekend's injury carnage continued into the final game.

The Titans put the game's opening kick-off out on the full but it was about the last thing that went wrong for them.

They easily repelled the early pressure and opened the scoring through AJ Brimson as the fullback chased through his own attacking grubber in the 10th minute.

Brimson held up a nice ball for a charging Phil Sami to burst through in the 23rd minute before Sami turned creator with some beautiful footwork to create a two-on-one and send Corey Thompson over in the 33rd.

Moeaki Fotuaika broke a 47-game try-scoring drought three minutes from oranges when he burst onto a Mitch Rein short ball under the sticks.

When Holmes spilled a bomb under pressure shortly before half time and Mitchell Dunn picked the ball up from an offside position, Fogarty had an easy short for his fourth two-pointer of the half and a 26-nil advantage at the break.

Fifita continues his try-scoring form in 2021

The Cowboys' only real opportunity of the first stanza came when Jake Clifford's leap at an attacking bomb beat Brimson but the halfback fumbled the put-down, forcing the Bunker to overturn the on-field try ruling.

A rare error from the Titans from a kick gave the Cowboys a full set early in the second half, with Drinkwater and O'Neill setting up Tabuai-Fidow to get the home side on the board.

Some nice passing from Drinkwater and Holmes earned Murray Tualagi a try in the 57th minute and the same combination looked to have created the young winger's second 10 minutes later but it was overruled for an obstruction.

Further second-half tries to Brimson in the 53rd minute, Fifita in the 68th and Thompson in the 78th made it an ugly scorecard for the home side, consigning them to their third loss in as many games while the Titans join six other sides on a 2-1 record but climb into the top four based on differential.

Fotuaika joins the party for the Titans

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