The Consortium Club
|Last 10 Years||13||8||5||0||321 (Avg 25 ppg)||237 (Avg 18 ppg)||62%|
The Gold Coast Titans didn't join the NRL competition until 2007, after a long battle by a heavy-hitting local group to establish a second club in south east Queensland. Following the removal of the previous incarnation of the Gold Coast at the end of 1998, a new Gold Coast Consortium was formed in March 1999.
Businessman Michael Searle and his group went hard in their push to revive a Gold Coast team after previous ill-fated incarnations the Giants (1988-89), Seagulls (1990-95) and Chargers (1996-98). So aggressive was the Searle Consortium that they announced the team name and colours at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre prior their bid was accepted. Indeed, it was knocked back by the NRL in 2004. Eventually, however, a decision was made in May 2005 to once again include a team from the Gold Coast for the 2007 NRL season.
They would be known as the Gold Coast Dolphins and play in white, jade and orange. The only problem was there was already a team named the Dolphins in Queensland - the Redcliffe Dolphins. They threatened legal action and the Consortium had to resort to a radio station poll to name the team, eventually settling on the Titans.
The club was given a brand new $100 million stadium by the Queenland Government and nearly two years to prepare itself for entry to the NRL in 2007. They embarked on a strong recruitment drive headed by the signing of Tigers Premiership winning captain Scott Prince, Dragons international prop Luke Bailey, Preston Campbell from Penrith, as well as livewire second-rower Mark Minichiello from South Sydney. Their privileged start to life was in stark contrast to the Rabbitohs of 2005 who were struggling for traction after their reinstatement to the NRL in 2002, in financial difficulties, and had little support from the powers that be.
Everyone connected with Rugby League expected the Titans to be competitive in their first season, but few would have predicted that, before that season was even half over, the mighty Rabbitohs would have established a brand new feud with the newcomers.
The Titans made an impressive start to the year, winning four of their first seven matches, but lost the next three before hosting the Rabbitohs for the first time in round 11. We had also lost the previous three games and were just clinging to the top eight when we went to Carrara Stadium, but we were nevertheless expected to win. However, by the time the match had finished, one player had 10 stitches in his face, another had been sent off, and a war of words was raging between the two clubs.
It was a frustrating game which didn't go at all to plan, right from the time Minichiello charged onto a Prince grubber kick to score the opening try after just four minutes. Souths five-eighth Jeremy Smith scored in the 13th minute for 6-all, but Gold Coast centre Brett Delaney, who would play a key role in the controversy to follow, crossed on the half hour for the Titans to lead 12-6 at halftime. The match still seemed very winnable, though, and when centre Fetuli Talanoa scored just three minutes into the second half to lock it up again at 12-all, the Rabbitohs breathed a little easier. Too easy, as it turned out, because Prince scored four minutes later to again take the Titans to the lead, 18-12.
Alarm bells were ringing for the Rabbitohs and, despite our best efforts to equalise, the match proceeded in stalemate mode for more than 20 minutes. We had our chances but just couldn't get over the line, and frustration turned to downright despair when Prince dummied and stepped his way through the defence for his second try with less than 10 minutes to go. We were suddenly two converted tries down and staring defeat in a must-win match right down the barrel. But anyone headed for the exits at that point had made a big mistake because the drama had barely even started.
When Rabbitoh winger Reece Simmonds finished off a terrific move to score and Joe Williams converted, we were 24-18 down with six minutes to play and right back in the match. Then, with just a couple of minutes left and Souths threatening, the night air crackled and exploded. Souths prop Jaiman Lowe was tackled by Delaney and, after he got up and played the ball, Lowe advanced menacingly, grabbed Delaney by the front of his jersey and hit him flush in the mouth.
Delaney crumpled to the ground, play was halted and Lowe was sent from the field. In a single moment, whatever chance we had was gone. Not only did we lose possession when deep in attack with a chance to force the match into golden point extra time, but from the resultant penalty the Titans worked into position for five-eighth Josh Lewis to kick a field goal which finished us off.
It seemed a senseless brain explosion from Lowe but the controversy raged after the game when he accused Delaney of squeezing his testicles in the tackle. Coach Jason Taylor supported Lowe's claim and Titans coach John Cartwright weighed into the debate, saying Lowe had king-hit Delaney without provocation. It certainly wasn't a pretty incident - on or off the field - but nothing was proven against Delaney and a couple of days later Lowe was suspended for four weeks. The whole sorry affair left the Rabbitohs camp seething, and the match was arguably the lowest point of our 2007 campaign. However, it certainly ensured there would be plenty of feeling in the round 20 return clash at Telstra Stadium.
Both teams were just out of the eight by then and it was a do-or-die match as the race for a semi-final spot intensified. Lowe missed the match with a broken hand, robbing it of the "get-square" factor, and the game might not have been the greatest quality, but it proved to be as tense as any game the Rabbitohs played all year.
The night started fantastically for us, with Talanoa scoring after only four minutes and rookie half Eddie Paea beating three tacklers and crossing for a sweet individual try six minutes later. Both conversions went astray, though, and then somehow we proceeded to let them back into the contest. By halftime two tries had the Titans in front 10-8 and a further try, by that man Delaney six minutes into the second half, gave the match a very familiar feeling as we fell six points behind. What followed was 25 minutes of torture for Souths fans as the clock ticked away and the Rabbitohs ground their way down the field time and again, but just couldn't manage to score the try they so desperately needed.
As the match entered the final 10 minutes it appeared that the Titans might get their second win against us in their first year, but we weren't quite ready to concede. With eight minutes left, Nathan Merritt, John Sutton, David Fa'alogo and Roy Asotasi combined beautifully down the right side to create a gap on the inside for Nigel Vagana, who changed direction the instant he got the ball, went past Bailey, crashed into Minichiello over the line and fell to the ground for the try. When Merritt converted, the scores were level and the momentum was all ours.
There were nearly thirteen and a half thousand people at Telstra that night and, with just about all of them roaring the Rabbitohs home, Ben Rogers hoisted a towering bomb in the 76th minute. When the ball came down amidst a tangle of players and bounced into the air, Shane Rigon rose above the pack and tapped it back to Sutton, who came to the last line of defence and passed to Dean Widders. With the crowd absolutely screaming, Widders put his head down and burrowed over the line for the try. Merritt again converted and the match was won, 20-14.
As the players gathered on the sideline after full time and waved to their wildly celebrating fans, the most satisfied person not on the field at the time was probably Jaiman Lowe, who must have felt the team had evened the score for him after the calamity at Carrara.
We would win our next encounter with the Gold Coast, midway through 2008, in a nail-biting 24-23 victory, but then dropped the next three, including a frustrating 19-18 loss in Round 2 of the 2010 season. Our next meeting put us back on track with a dominant 31-8 victory at ANZ Stadium, which kick-started a five-match winning streak against the Titans.
In 2012, we were flying high in second position, while the Titans were holding onto 8th spot by the skin of their teeth ahead of the Round 22 match up at Robina Stadium. With fullback Greg Inglis suspended, winger Nathan Merritt slotted in the No.1 jersey and rookie Justin Hunt was thrown onto the wing. The absence of Inglis was particularly unfortunate as it was the NRL's Indigenous Round, with Souths displaying our first ever Indigenous-themed jersey.
The game started badly as, just ten minutes in, the Titans' own Indigenous superstar Scott Prince sent up a bomb that winger Andrew Everingham dropped with the sun in his eyes, gifting his opposite Steve Michaels a try. Everingham redeemed himself soon after as he sent centre Dylan Farrell over for an equaliser in the 23rd minute.
Less than ten minutes later Souths were over again through one of the more bizarre tries of the season. As Adam Reynolds launched a bomb for his winger, Farrell jumped up and tapped the ball back into the arms of Sam Burgess, who then cross kicked straight through the hands of a leaping Chris McQueen. The ball bounced perfectly into the hands of John Sutton, whose wayward pass somehow found its way to Hunt, who finished off the chaotic passage of play to give us a 10-6 halftime lead.
Ten minutes into the second half with the Titans parked on our line, Prince looked to throw a cutout pass to their winger, but the ball landed instead in the arms of Everingham, who sprinted 90 metres to touch down. Just a few minutes later we crossed again through a slick backline play that saw Hunt bag his double. The Titans crossed for two quick tries in the last ten, but it was too little too late as we recorded a 22-18 victory, our first win on the glitter strip since beating the Chargers in 1996.
A year later we hosted our first match at Barlow Park in Cairns against the Titans on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. Souths were soaring at the top of the table and we came up against a fifth placed Gold Coast outfit with plenty of incentive to knock us off our pedestal. But we showed early on why we were leading the Premiership when an Issac Luke trick play close to the line put Greg Inglis over to get us 6-nil lead.
Sam Burgess went agonisingly close to scoring on two occasions, but lost control of the ball both times. The Titans took advantage and hit back with two quick-fire tries to lead 12-6, but a clever grubber off the boot of Adam Reynolds close to the line saw Luke regather to even up at 12-all after half an hour. The match continued to see-saw when a Greg Bird pass sent William Zillman flying to the line to get Titans back in front.
The Rabbitohs then conjured up a miracle try with just thirty seconds left in the first half. Merritt found some space on the edge and tried to sneak over before being caught in a tackle, then managing to offload to the ball to his centre partner Bryson Goodwin. The Rabbitohs seemed to become the Harlem Globetrotters for a moment as Luke got the ball, looping it to Asotasi on his inside. Falling in a tackle, the big Kiwi sent the ball to Reynolds, who calmly shaped a bomb into the arms of Dylan Walker to score an unforgettable try that levelled the scores 18-all at the break.
That try seemed to give Souths a big confidence boost, as Asotasi and Ben Te'o crashed over soon after to give us a 30-18 lead with just over a quarter of the match to go. Not finished yet though, the Titans scored when a Jamal Idris flick pass sent Albert Kelly over, reducing the lead to six.
With less than five minutes to go, Idris was back on the attack on the halfway line. As Souths looked to shut down the play, he flicked the ball once more to Kelly, who sprinted downfield, looking certain to score. However, a stroke of genius from his cousin Greg Inglis saw the ball pop out of Kelly's arms, effectively sealing a thrilling 30-24 victory for the Rabbitohs.
Later that season we returned to Queensland and put the Titans to the sword in a crushing 32-4 victory which, funnily enough, saw Sam Burgess make up for his poor fortune in the previous encounter, scoring a double.
In Round 9 of the 2014 season we blew the Titans away again with a comprehensive 40-18 victory on the holiday strip. Four tries in the first 16 minutes of the match set the tone for a rampant Rabbitohs side, with centre Dylan Walker scoring four himself. It remains the highest score we have posted on the Titans. The next match however, fielding an Origin affected side, we fell to the Gold Coast 14-6 in a scrappy Monday night affair at ANZ Stadium.
At the beginning of the 2015 season, with the club in significant financial difficulties, the Gold Coast Consortium placed the Titans into voluntary administration. Their license was transferred to the NRL and the franchise was kept alive with money from the governing body. When the Titans faced their darkest hour as a club the NRL jumped in to save them - a very unfamiliar scenario to many South Sydney Rabbitohs fans who remember specific events around the turn of the century, and particularly 1999.
Our sole meeting in 2015 saw us record a famous victory in Queensland, a 22-16 win with a side heavily affected by injury.
But there are plenty of Souths faithful who will not forget the grave injustice dealt us in Round 13 of 2016.
A rejuvenated Titans side, thriving off the back of rookie halfback sensation Ash Taylor, was challenging for a spot in the finals for the first time in years, while we were hanging on a top eight spot by the skin of our teeth. With the match played in Perth, there was an air of confidence as we arrived at nib Stadium, having won five of the seven matches played there.
The match started badly as we conceded a soft try to prop Ryan James in the 12th minute, and then a handling error gifted the Titans a 12-nil lead as Taylor scored a runaway try on the stroke of halftime. Early in the second Taylor booted a 40/20, and then halves partner Tyrone Roberts scored to extend the lead to 18-nil.
Souths came to life, crossing twice in four minutes through Bryson Goodwin and Dane Nielsen to close the gap to eight points, but another uninspired effort to tackle Ryan James saw the Titans lead 24-10 with less than a quarter of the match to go.
Then another two Rabbitoh tries in four minutes made it 24-22. Game on!
The Titans scored again with five minutes to go but, with the conversion missed, the opportunity to level was there. And, with just one minute left, hooker Cameron McInnes sliced through the Titans' left side defence to score a memorable try. Adam Reynolds nailed a trademark sideline conversion to send the match into extra time with scores at 28-a-piece.
Four agonising minutes into golden point, Reynolds – cool as a cucumber – slotted a field goal to ice a famous 29-28 victory. At least that's what he and his teammates, as well as the thousands of Souths supporters jumping up and down in the stands, thought.
In what remained the single biggest howler of that entire season, referee Grant Atkins went to the video replay where it was ruled that the Titans markers, who in no way would have been able to affect the play, were impeded. The field goal was disallowed, a penalty awarded to the Titans, and that man Ash Taylor kicked a field goal of his own in the very next set to deny the Rabbitohs a victory that was rightfully theirs.
That match knocked the stuffing out of Souths and it was the beginning of a nine-game losing streak, leaving us in 12th position at seasons' end, while the Titans snuck into their first finals series since 2010 by a single competition point.
Our history, and our feud, with the Gold Coast Titans is a short one, them being the most recent addition to the NRL, but it certainly doesn't lack bite. Right from that very first night in 2007, when Jaiman Lowe took matters into his own hands, there's been something there.
We've won seven of the last nine encounters and have established a clear superiority. But, as history shows, the Titans have sometimes got the better of us when the stakes were high, and when we least expected it.
We've got to take it right to them, meet them head on, and remain focused throughout. That way we will build on our impressive record against them, and keep them where they belong: down near the bottom of the NRL pecking order, at the opposite end of the scale from the mighty South Sydney Rabbitohs.