The South Sydney Rabbitohs secured their third win in four games with a 14-point victory over the Gold Coast Titans at Robina Stadium. After an up and down start to the season where the squad has struggled with consistency, it’s all starting to click for Jason Demetriou’s men on the back of another strong showing on both sides of the field.
Following a bye, the Rabbitohs returned to action with a near full-strength squad for the first time in many weeks and looked impressive for long periods throughout the contest.
The struggling Titans entered this matchup on a run of eight losses from their last nine and were down on troops to boot, proving to be no match for a Rabbitohs side battling to find some form. With the win, Souths now give themselves some much-needed breathing room in the top eight and will be confident that they can build towards the back end of the season with the impending return of Latrell Mitchell.
With a few changes to the squad and Origin stars Cameron Murray and Damien Cook backing up from a tough game on Wednesday night, the Rabbitohs had some challenges to overcome. At times the side excelled in attack, whilst holding out plenty of determined attacks from their opponents.
The Rabbitohs targeted the shaky outside defence of the Titans with much success, scoring all their tries through attacking the edges. Cody Walker sent Alex Johnston through for the first with a harbour bridge pass, but the Titans answered back shortly after.
Lachlan Ilias’ kicking game was at its best at the start of the game as he picked out Jaxson Paulo to restore Souths’ lead. It was all one-way traffic from here as Paulo was denied twice by the bunker, and Keaon Koloamatangi was somehow held up by a mountain of Titans’ defenders on the line.
The second half continued in a similar fashion, as Johnston once again crossed over and Taane Milne made the hosts pay on the other wing. Titans’ captain Tino Fa'asuamaleaui gave his side a chance with some valiant efforts close to the line, the Rabbitohs matched his intensity and ran away with the result.
Johnston secured his second-consecutive hat trick, as Souths celebrated Thomas Burgess’ 200th game in a winning fashion. The win now gives the Rabbitohs a clear path to a top-four berth, as they sit just two points off their closest rivals Brisbane in fourth spot.
Coach Demetriou credited his opposition but noted the importance of continuing the form in a tough upcoming period for the club. “For us, it’s about these next two games. It’s tough, we’ve got the Dragons in a short turnaround next game. Tonight we did what we needed to do and in the second half, we upped our intensity. I said to players it’s a pretty good sign of the level we are at that we are able to go up a notch when we need to, it's always tricky coming back from a bye and getting your energy levels to where they need to be”.
“Credit to the Titans, they completed at 90% for the game, they came to play and with their season on the line and we had to work hard to win”.