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The Titans travelled to Melbourne for the final game of the 2016 NRL season needing a win to have any chance of reaching the finals. However they would need to do it at the toughest place possible, against the reigning premiers at AAMI Park.

Storm meanwhile had already secured a top four finish courtesy of their four-game winning streak at the back end of the year although Craig Bellamy’s side was out to right the ship after falling to Manly at Brookvale the previous week.

What followed on this particular night would be something the master coach would later describe as “a strange-old game.”

It started in rather typical fashion with a Cooper Cronk cross-field kick sending Justin O’Neill through the Titans line before an inward pass saw Billy Slater over for the game’s first try inside 10 minutes. 

The visitors hit back as David Taylor turned it on, scoring one himself and assisting for another six minutes later. As the penalty count began to rise for Storm so too did the deficit as a Titans penalty kick extended their lead out to 10.

Melbourne needed a response and it arrived on 32 minutes in a near reenactment of the game’s opening try.

Cronk placed a high ball on the Titans’ try line, which O’Neill batted back towards Slater for the superstar fullback’s 17th try of the season. Skipper Cameron Smith then made sure of the conversion which saw him reach 1,500 career points.

Gold Coast enjoyed a 16-12 half-time lead but it lasted all of seven minutes after the restart when Sisa Waqa leveled the scores.

In the 56th minute Storm’s dominant field position saw them take the lead when Will Chambers benefitted off another Cronk-Slater combination move.

As the second half wore on so to did a growing list of casualties, as AAMI Park soon resembled more of a war zone than an NRL field.

“It was a very physical game… I looked around there at one stage, we had about four (players) with strapping around their head and they had two or three,” Smith said.

“I think that reflects the way the game was, it was a very defence-orientated game.”

The purple wall held firm for much of the second half as Storm held on to a six-point lead.

However just as Storm fans readied for celebration, the Titans found a way through as Anthony Don struck for the visitors with two minutes left and Aidan Sezer converted to send the game into extra time.

It was the sixth time in the Club’s history a game had gone into golden point and as Jason Ryles put it at the time, “fortunately we had a bloke in the No.7 named Cooper Cronk who kicks field goals for a living.”

However extra time brought with it a roller coaster finish.

The Titans had first chance at snatching the points when Aiden Sezer missed his 45-metre field goal.

Cronk missed twice himself as Storm fans clung to the edge of their seats, hoping the halfback could replicate his game-winning feats from the Origin decider a year ago.

It took until the eighth minute of golden point, but that was precisely what he did.

As Storm pushed forward, the ice-cool No.7 stepped up from 41m out to send the ball through the posts and secure the Storm win.

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