The South Sydney Rabbitohs & the Gold Coast Titans have battled out a point-scoring bonanza on the Gold Coast on Friday evening in a match that had 11 tries, with the Rabbitohs coming back from 14 points down at halftime to come away with the victory.
With both sides decked out in blue to commemorate 100 years of the Royal Australian Air Force during ANZAC round, it was a vintage performance from Benji Marshall that drove the Rabbitohs to victory, scoring two tries himself & laying on several others.
David Fifita did his level best to ruin the Rabbitohs win streak, scoring three barnstorming tries in the first half - but the try-scoring potency of the Rabbitohs backline proved to be too much for the Titans at the end of eighty minutes.
The Rabbitohs form leading into the match was strong but without fullback Latrell Mitchell their backline was forced to re-shuffle, with some familiar faces in unfamiliar positions. It was Cody Walker in the end who would slot into the vacant fullback position, allowing Marshall to play eighty minutes in his preferred five-eighth role.
David Fifita got the first of his three tries to open the try-scoring for the match with a barnstorming effort, & ex Titan Jai Arrow was forced onto the field early due to an injury to Rabbitohs prop Junior Tatola during the play.
The Rabbitohs would have their first chance following another huge effort off the boot of halfback Adam Reynolds, who kicked a 40/20 to put the Rabbitohs on the attack - but Alex Johnston was bundled into touch a few plays later.
The Rabbitohs would open their account against the run of play, with rangy center Campbell Graham pulling off some huge defensive efforts protecting his line - before putting on a pearler for Jaxson Paulo to cross in the corner. Graham would break through the defensive line before putting his boot to the ball finding the young winger his first try of the year.
Rabbitohs hit back with a ripper
The Rabbitohs would cross again just a few minutes later, this time with Cody Walker finishing off a play that went through the hands of Adam Reynolds, Benji Marshall & the returning Keaon Koloamatangi. Reynolds would convert to bring the scores to 10 - 6.
It was David Fifita time once again when he crossed for the Titans second try with another barnstorming run from close to the line, following a short drop-out attempt that went wrong for the Rabbitohs, & he would cross for his 3rd try just 3 minutes later bringing the score to 18 to 10 with 5 minutes remaining before the half time break.
The Titans weren't done though, & would score a 100-meter screamer through halfback Jamal Fogarty to bring the scores to 24 - 10 at the halftime break & leave the Rabbitohs with plenty of work to do.
Match: Titans v Rabbitohs
Round 7 -
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Whatever the message from the Rabbitohs coaching staff was at half time, it appeared to work - because the Rabbitohs came out from the sheds full of steam and opened the scoring for the second half with interchange forward Liam Knight sparking the offense with a late offload before a backline shift put Dane Gagai over in the corner.
The 36-year-old Benji Marshall would make it back-to-back tries for Souths when he put Keaon Koloamatangi into another hole before the big backrower offloaded back on the inside for the evergreen Marshall to cross under the posts. Reynolds made no mistake with the conversion & it was a 2 point game.
Reynolds would tie things up a few minutes later following a penalty on Titans forward Jarrod Wallace for a ruck infringement.
The Rabbitohs combined with some freakish ballplaying to put Alex Johnston across for the ninth try of the game & hit the lead. Adam Reynolds started it by providing Cam Murray with a nice ball allowing the lock forward to poke his head through the line before providing a beautiful offload of his own to free up a flying Benji Marshall. Not to be outdone, Benji turned Alex Johnston inside with a typical Marshall pass & the winger did the rest. Reynolds converted and it was 30 points to 24.
The Titans would hit back in the 68th minute through Tyrone Peachy & the stage was set for an exciting finish when Jamal Fogarty converted to tie the scores at 30 all with ten minutes to play.
It was Benji Marshall who was the man on the spot once again to put Souths back in front & ultimately put the game to bed when he first put Alex Johnston into the clear before backing up to cross for the score himself.
Marshall starts and finishes it for South Sydney
Adam Reynolds would kick two late penalties & the Rabbitohs would walk away 40 points to 30 victors.