Canterbury team-mates consoled Kieran Foran after fears of a season-ending injury to the off-contract star overshadowed Gold Coast’s gutsy 18-14 victory on Saturday at ANZ Stadium.
After virtually single-handedly inspiring a Bulldogs fightback, Foran was forced from the field midway through the second half with a suspected pectoral tear in his right bicep and left the stadium quickly after the match ended.
"The players are shattered themselves for him and a few of them just walked out with him to make sure he is okay," Canterbury coach Steve Georgallis said.
"It is disappointing. He has been our form player for the past six weeks and every week he is giving 100 per cent. I am sure he will get over this, he is a resilient type of player so I am sure he will come back."
However, it won't be with the Bulldogs after the club decided against offering Foran a new contract for next season and announced the signing of Blake Green on a one-year deal.
Match: Bulldogs v Titans
Round 17 -
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Foran is now looking for another club and the veteran playmaker showed he still has plenty to offer before being forced from the field in the 54th minute.
He had just scored a try after earlier laying on one for winger Nick Meaney and with him went Canterbury’s hopes of climbing off the bottom of the premiership ladder.
Dogs prop Dylan Napa also failed to finish the match due to knee and shoulder injuries sustained in the dying minutes and his season also appears to be over.
"The Gold Coast are a good football team. They have been playing well the last couple of weeks," Georgallis said.
"They scored two tries from kicks and one from a scrum, and that was the difference.
"If you are not competing every single minute and on every single play you get burnt and we got burnt three times today and it has cost us the game."
The Titans picked up where they left off in last weekend’s 14-10 comeback triumph against St George Illawarra when winger Corey Thompson crossed for the opening try in just the second minute.
The try followed a long range break from second-rower Beau Fermor and Thompson juggled a cut-out pass from five-eighth Ash Taylor before diving over in the corner to score.
Not even a rejig of the Gold Coast line-up after losing prop Jaimin Jolliffe in the 10th minute and centre Brian Kelly a minute later with ankle injuries could stop the momentum.
Shifting to the centres in place of Kelly, Fermor scored the next try when he pounced on a perfectly placed grubber by halfback Jamal Fogarty into the Canterbury in-goal.
Foran leaves field with suspected pectoral injury
Up until that stage Gold Coast had been playing error free but lapses of discipline resulting in penalties and turnovers allowed the Bulldogs back into the game and Foran took advantage to put winger Nick Meaney over in the 28th minute.
Fogarty responded just minutes later after receiving a pass from fullback AJ Brimson after a 10-metre scrum win and fending off Bulldogs centre Marcelo Montoya to score.
English prop Luke Thompson thought he had scored his first NRL try just before half-time but the Bunker ruled he had promoted the ball after being tackled short of the line and Canterbury went to the break trailing 14-6.
Taylor lays it on for Thompson
Bulldogs forward Renouf To’omaga and Gold Coast prop Jarrod Wallace had tries disallowed early in the second half but there was no doubt when Foran powered past Fogarty to score in the 50th minute.
The try lifted Canterbury’s hopes but just three minutes later Foran reeled out of a tackle on Brimson clutching at his right shoulder and the Titans immediately took advantage.
Is Don is spectacular
Spotting space on the opposite side of the field where Foran would have been defending, Thompson kicked from the left touchline for right winger Anthony Don to catch the ball before shrugging off Meaney and running away to score.
Initially the Bulldogs wanted to stop play and check Foran’s injury but he left the field and walked up the tunnel, pointing at his right bicep.
Halfback Lachlan Lewis stepped up in Foran’s absence and stepped around Fogarty to score in the 72nd minute, but rookie centre Jake Averillo missed the conversion and the Titans had their first back to back wins of the season.
Lewis beats Fogarty to edge the Bulldogs closer