The Titans waited until the final day of the regular season to end the Sharks’ play-off hopes, thrashing a woeful Warriors side who had three players sent to the sin bin in the space of a minute.
Needing to win by 11 points or more to secure their first finals appearance in five years, the Titans had wrapped up eighth spot by half-time and cruised to a season-saving 44-0 win, the biggest in their history.
But that was only half the story as both teams lost their cool amid a spate of melees resulting in the Warriors having three players sent to the sin-bin within moments.
Forwards Jazz Tevaga, Matt Lodge and Kane Evans were all sanctioned in a furious end to the match, while Gold Coast’s Jarrod Wallace was also sat down for 10 minutes as the 12-man Titans celebrated wildly against an opposition down to 10 men.
The result was well and truly decided at that point with Justin Holbrook’s side cruising at 28-0, ending the Sharks’ six-year finals run. The Titans will play the Roosters in an elimination final next weekend.
The result won’t be without concern for the Titans though, Mitch Rein (dangerous contact) and Jamal Fogarty (dangerous throw) both placed on report for first-half incidents which will be under scrutiny from the match review committee.
And it was a couple of Gold Coast stars with Sharks links who stuck the dagger into Cronulla, who butchered a chance to qualify for the finals when they were beaten by an under-strength Melbourne on Friday night.
Jayden Campbell, the son of Cronulla’s Dally M winner Preston, bagged two tries, while David Peachey’s nephew Tyrone starred at five-eighth as million-dollar man David Fifita set a club record with his 16th and 17th tries of the season.