The Titans led 12-10 until midway through the second half when Brisbane captain Adam Reynolds scored and the home side had a late try disallowed as they fell agonisingly short.
For the Broncos, the win almost guarantees them a finals berth and hope of finishing in the top four after joining the Storm and Eels on 24 points.
The Titans try line was virtually impenetrable in the first half - until the final tackle before the break when Adam Reynolds fired a long pass to put winger Delouise Hoeter over in the corner.
The home team had taken the lead with the first try of the match in the 30th minute after star fullback AJ Brimson collected a loose ball near his own line from a Reynolds kick and raced 70-metres downfield.
Five-eighth Tanah Boyd scored several tackles later after winning the race for a perfectly weighted Toby Sexton grubber into the Broncos in-goal.
The lead up to the Broncos try also started deep inside their own half after they spread the ball wide to winger Jordan Pereira, who raced downfield before kicking in-field and second-rower Jordan Riki came up the ball.
Gold Coast prop Jaimin Jolliffe put his side ahead five minutes into the second term when he pushed off Rhys Kennedy and rolled out of a tackle by fullback Tesi Niu to plant the ball on try line.
However, errors proved costly for the Titans, with Pereira hitting back for the Broncos when he bounced his way into the in-goal to score in the 50th minute after a lost ball by Beau Fermor.
Another fumble by the Titans secondrower as he attempted to play-the-ball led to Reynolds crossing to bring up his 2000th premiership point after backing up a break by Tyson Gamble to put the Broncos ahead for the first time in the match.
Both teams had tries disallowed late in the match, with Brisbane rookie Zac Hosking denied for a double-movement and Titans centre Phil Sami fumbling the ball after diving on a Sexton grubber.
- Broncos captain Adam Reynolds became just the eighth player since 1908 to surpass 2000 premiership points when he scored the 56th minute try to put the visitors ahead for the first time in the match.
- Titans captain Tino Fa'asuamaleaui ran 146 metres with the ball after watching the opening 52 minutes from the bench following his starring role for Queensland in Wednesday night's Origin series triumph.
- Māori All Stars hooker Erin Clark ran 157 metres from 13 carries in a 52 minute stint after starting at lock in a move that enabled him to have a similar impact to Reuben Cotter at the Cowboys.
- Broncos second-rower Zac Hosking ran 129 metres and had a try disallowed in an impressive performance for a rookie who was working on a building site just three weeks ago.
- Gold Coast fullback AJ Brimson ran a game high 250 metres and produced two line breaks in a five-star performance, while his Broncos opposite Tesi Niu was just as elusive and ran 241 metres.
- The Titans forced five goal line drop outs, with Sexton responsible for three of them, and his in-goal grubbers also produced a try and another which was disallowed.
- The Broncos missed 57 tackles but the Titans committed 12 errors which proved costly.
Play of the game
The Titans held the Broncos out for more than 39 minutes but winger Delouise Hoeter found a way through the defence on the last tackle of the first half after reaching for a long Adam Reynolds pass to level the scores at 6-6 at the interval.
What they said
"We came as close as you can get without winning a game of footy, that's for sure. We just lack a bit of confidence, we have come so close so many times. We have just got to stick at it now, there is still plenty of games. There was a lot to like about the players and the performance - just not the scoreboard," - Titans coach Justin Holbrook.
"We don't speak about finals footy, we just speak about each week and just trying to get better as a group. We haven't spoken about it. The goal of ours, in the atmosphere at the Broncos, is to win premierships and that is what we are about as a club. When that happens, I don't know but we are heading in the right direction for all of that to take place," - Broncos coach Kevin Walters.
The Titans travel to Sydney next Sydney to take on the Bulldogs at CommBank Stadium, while the Broncos face the Eels at the same venue on Thursday night.
Titans coach Justin Holbrook is hopeful that fullback Jayden Campbell will be cleared to return from a hamstring injury against Parramatta.
Brisbane coach Kevin Walters is expected to welcome back Maroons stars Kurt Capewell, Corey Oates and Pat Carrigan after they were rested following Wednesday night's Origin series win at Suncorp Statement.
He will also be hoping to have Payne Haas (shoulder) and Corey Paix available for selection but Queensland winger Selwyn Cobbo will spend another week on the sideline due to HIA protocols.
Jordan Riki was placed on report for high tackle midway through the first half.
Story first published on NRL.com