The South Sydney Rabbitohs have gone down 14-10 to the Gold Coast Titans tonight (Monday) in round 17 of the NRL at ANZ Stadium.
In a game that boasted a record 24 NRL penalties, the Titans held on to defeat the home-side for what would be their first victory in six matches. Despite being bolstered by the return of Luke Keary, Dylan Walker and George Burgess, the Rabbitohs failed to pick up the two points, picking up a single try and three goals in the process.
Adam Reynolds however did manage to break a record during the match, becoming the first player to score points in 69 consecutive matches.
In his first game back, it didn’t take long for Luke Keary to look dangerous in his first game of the season when he hoisted a towering bomb that found Nathan Merritt on the wing. With the Titans scrambling to defend, Merritt threw the ball back inside on the ground for Keary who raced 20 metres to score. Reynolds converted to give South Sydney an early six-point lead.
The Titans almost responded with a try through Paul Carter, but the video referee denied the lock on the grounds that he was held up in goal.
But Souths made a point of parking the Titans inside their own half with a combination of strategic kicking and strong defence. The defence paid dividends when Kevin Gordon was taken into touch by the red and greens on the 20 metre line, gifting the Rabbitohs perfect attacking position. But Souths failed to turn the opportunity into points.
The Titans began to give away penalties, with officials eventually warning the visitors to get their act together. The penalty gave Adam Reynolds an opportunity to boot the side two points further ahead from close range.
The Gold Coast finally got on the board with six minutes remaining in the first half when Albert Kelly turned a ball back inside for David Mead to score. Daniel Mortimer missed the conversion, leaving the score at 8-4 to take the teams to the break.
On the resumption, it was the Rabbitohs’ turn to show ill-discipline – the Titans hitting back through William Zillman who danced through the Rabbitohs’ defence. With the conversion attempt missed, it was all locked up at ANZ Stadium at eight apiece.
Sam Burgess tried to spark something for the red and greens when he found a gap before passing on to Alex Johnston. But some desperate Titans defence from Mark Minichiello saw the former Rabbitohs strip the ball from Johnston just shy of the line.
With the penalty count beginning to blow out, the Rabbitohs again opted for a shot at goal in front of the sticks to break the dead-lock – the Rabbitohs leading 10-8.
After another six penalties in a row and the Rabbitohs throwing everything they can at the Titans defence, John Sutton looked to crash over the line for a four-pointer. But with insufficient evidence from the video referee, a try couldn’t be awarded.
But it was the Gold Coast who got on the board next, with a Rabbitohs dropped ball from a towering bomb giving Kevin Gordon a four pointer on the touch-line. Gordon converted his own try to make it 14-10 in the Titans’ favour.
With the clock winding down, both Nathan Merritt and Adam Reynolds looked to spark something for the home-side – Merritt making a break down the side-line before being taken in defence, while a Reynolds chip and chase nearly yielded an opportunity. But neither moment managed to yield points.
Titans 14 (David Mead, William Zillman, Kevin Gordon,tries; Kevin Gordon 1 goals)
Rabbitohs 10 (Luke Keary, tries; Adam Reynolds 3 goals)