The South Sydney Rabbitohs have claimed a 32-20 victory over the Gold Coast Titans tonight (Friday) in their Round 15 clash at ANZ Stadium.
Injuries rattled this week’s line-up with a late exclusion of Sam Burgess who sustained a strained glute injury while Braidon Burns stepped in for Aaron Gray who was out with a facial injury. The Titans also had a shake up to their starting line-up with three players out for the State of Origin Game II and a long list of injuries.
The game celebrated John Sutton’s 300th appearance for the South Sydney Rabbitohs across all grades and marked his 272nd NRL game. The night was made even sweeter for Sutton when he ran out as Captain for the match.
The Titans produced the first completed set for the night off the kick-off but after the Rabbitohs gained possession, a knock on by Bryson Goodwin saw the Titans on the attack again. They capatalised on the opportunity and the Titans claimed the first points for the night when their debutant hooker Pat Politoni scored holding on to a well-placed offload from Nathaniel Peteru. Ash Taylor slotted the extras and the Rabbitohs fell behind by six points.
The Titans extended their lead by another two points off a penalty kick and the Rabbitohs were on the back foot early on.
The Rabbitohs were the next to get up to the try line but forward Tom Burgess lost it in the last seconds resulting in a no try call from upstairs.
The Titans got the home crowd worried when Kevin Proctor picked up the rebound from a Politoni attacking grubber in the 17th minute and scored the second try for the evening. Taylor’s successful conversion added to the Titans 14 points to zero lead.
The away side got the sweat rolling off Souths supporter’s foreheads when the Titans went over again but the video referee saved the four points calling a no try.
With minutes ticking away in the first half, the Rabbitohs team gave the stadium something to cheer about with Angus Crichton stepping past three defenders and flying over the line to score. Adam Reynolds slotted the ball straight through the uprights and the Rabbitohs were on the board six points to 14.
You could see the fire of determination light up in the Red and Green side and the Rabbitohs amped up their power and speed.
The change showed on the scoreboard and a long powerful pass from Cody Walker out to Alex Johnston saw him sprint to the left side of the field and over the line. Reynolds conversion swayed to the right but the Rabbitohs narrowed in on the Titans 14 point to 10 lead.
But the Titans had one more try in them for the first half with Joe Greenwood securing the points for the Gold Coast side. A successful Taylor conversion held the Titans in a 20 points to 10 lead as the half time siren sounded.
The second half saw the Rabbitohs come out and add the first points for the next 40 minutes when a slick pass from Sutton to Walker resulted in a try. Reynolds added the two point conversion and the Rabbitohs secured 16 points to the Titans 20.
With 30 minutes remaining on the clock, the Titans turned the ball over after trying to run it on their last run and the Rabbitohs made the most of the opportunity. Robbie Farah made a break on the left side of the field and offloaded to Johnston who sprinted into the middle and up the field to bring his side 20 metres out from the try line. Crichton made a powerful run and scored himself a double to level the scoreboard. Reynolds kick at goal slotted through the posts and the Rabbitohs gave themselves the lead for the first time in the game 22 points to 20.
The South Sydney side wouldn’t stop there and extended their lead by another converted try when Goodwin weaved through the Titans defence to stumble over the line and place the ball down for the Rabbitohs 26th point. Reynolds had a shot from out in front nailing the kick and bringing the Rabbitohs into a 28 to 20 point lead.
Once again Johnston showed his skills out on the wing, leaping for the score line and slamming the ball down for the Rabbitohs second double. An unlucky Reynolds kick hit the post but the Rabbitohs had a strong lead 32 points to 20.
The Rabbitohs held the Titans off for the remainder of the match and the Rabbitohs claimed their first victory in front of their home crowd this season.
Angus Crichton capped off a remarkable individiual performance by scoring in the dying minutes, running through several Gold Coast defenders and crashing over to seal his hat-trick. Adam Reynolds couldn't convert but the Rabbitohs were comfortable ahead to claim the win.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 36 (Angus Crichton 3, Alex Johnston 2, Cody Walker, Bryson Goodwin tries; Adam Reynolds 4 goals)
Gold Coast Titans 20 (Pat Politoni, Kevin Proctor, Joe Greenwood tries; Ash Taylor 4 goals)