It was ugly but effective as two late penalty goals saved St George Illawarra from a third straight defeat with a dour 8-6 NRL win over Gold Coast at Wollongong on Friday night.
With the Titans up 6-4 with just 12 minutes remaining, Gold Coast's Queensland Origin forward Nate Myles conceded two penalties in front of his sticks to ruin the visitors chances, Jamie Soward nailing both simple opportunities to secure the much-needed win.
But the Dragons nearly blew it when they failed to defuse a Scott Prince bomb five minutes from fulltime, with Aiden Sezer carelessly drifting offside before setting up fullback Phil Graham for what appeared the match-winning try.
The Dragons scored the only try of the opening half but it was their effort without the ball that characterised their play.
The home side somehow withstood eight consecutive sets on their own line, four Titans penalties, two Dragons line drop-outs and Jamie Soward failing to find touch from a penalty on his own ten-metre line allowing Gold Coast to set up camp on the southern tryline.
It seemed a matter of when and not if the Titans would score, with David Mead acrobatically touching down just inside the corner post only for replays to show he lost the ball millimetres above the turf.
The pressure valve released, Soward made up for his penalty error with a pinpoint cut-out ball for Daniel Vidot to cross just after the half hour, but it was all they could manage with a fresh breeze at their backs.
The Titans took nowhere near as long to get the wind in their sails after halftime.
Scott Prince was first to an Aidan Sezer grubber in the 53rd minute that the rookie five-eighth had cleverly aimed at the right upright to confuse the defence.
Leading 6-4, the Titans had a spring in their step - none more so than Jamal Idris as he produced a bellringer on Ben Creagh.
The Dragons began losing their cool and Dean Young was placed on report for elbowing Matt Srama before the reprieve via Soward's boot.
"Two points is two points," Dragons coach Steve Price said of the victory, which leaves the Dragons two points outside the top eight.
"That's the best we've defended for a long time.
"We can get a lot of confidence out of that - it was back to the Dragons of old tonight, defensively.
"We just kept turning up, turning up."
Titans coach John Cartwright did his best to bite his tongue over the late penalties - one for lying in the ruck and the other a soft high tackle - but in the end he couldn't resist.
"I haven't seen penalties given in that instance all year, I really haven't," Cartwright said."It's an unwritten law that when the clock winds down they put the whistle in their pocket and it's a law because it happens every week - that's what we get used to."