Titans fall to heavyweight Rabbitohs
Saturday 27 July 2013 9:25 PM
The iSelect Gold Coast Titans have suffered a 32-4 loss to the table-topping South Sydney Rabbitohs in a tough encounter at Skilled Park tonight.
The Titans were unable to contain the competition leaders, who were led up front superbly by the barnstorming Burgess boys, with Sam and George both bagging first half tries to give the away side a 14-0 half-time lead.
The Rabbitohs continued their dominance in the second half with Sam Burgess grabbing his second try and utility Luke Keary crossing for two late tries to race out 32-4 winners in front of a huge 20,392 crowd - the club's second biggest of the season.
iSelect Titans coach John Cartwright said his side competed strongly but were just unable to keep the dominate Rabbitohs outfit at bay.
“It wasn’t our worst performance of the year, but we got bashed up all over the park,” Cartwright said.
“We got bashed up all over the park, physically they came through us, and we got steamrolled.
“I thought we fought really hard in the first-half, I though they scrambled and the scoreline could have been worse with the amount of possession that they had.
“The possession turned around in the second-half but we still couldn’t stop them.
“It’s a matter of getting some pride back in our performance, confidence is an invisible force, when it’s there you know it, and when it’s not there you know it, and its missing at the moment.
“They got beaten last week, and they’ve come here with intent and a purpose and in the first-half for the amount of possession and field position.
“I don’t think we started a set in their half, we gave them three or four opportunities too but we didn’t play smart, we needed to be right out our best to challenge them tonight and we were nowhere near that.”
iSelect Titans co-captain Greg Bird said his side got into the grind of the match early on, but were unable to keep up with the relentless Rabbitohs.
“They were dominant, they were big in the middle. I thought that we were sort of in a bit of an arm wrestle, we were sticking with them in the first half getting out of our own end but they were just relentless,” Bird said.
“We were waiting for that error, waiting for that opportunity so we could sort of get repeat sets, but it didn’t happen.
“The penalty where they took the two points was probably the turning point for me, up until that I thought we were in the arm-wrestle and it was pretty tight but they just kicked on from there and their big boys started rolling through us when we started to tire.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit, but they were strong.
“I thought we matched them for a bit, but they just kept coming at us, they were relentless and eventually wore us down.”
Errors by the Titans early on in the match put the side under immense pressure, and it took some desperate scrambling defence to deny the Rabbitohs’ Ben Te’o a try in the sixth minute.
An error on the last play pinned the Titans in their defensive zone, and there was no stopping a barnstorming Sam Burgess, who showed a great combination of footwork and power to step his way through the line to give Adam Reynolds an easy conversion and the Rabbitohs an early 6-0 lead after 11 minutes of play.
The Rabbitohs looked to have crossed again in the 18th minute when Ben Lowe reeled in an Isaac Luke grubber, but the video referee ruled Lowe knocked the ball on in the process of getting it down.
After receiving a penalty almost directly in front of the posts from an innocuous Ashley Harrison late-hit on John Sutton, the Rabbitohs opted to extend their lead out to 8-0 in the 33rd minute.
With the momentum in their favour, the Rabbitohs continued to mount pressure and this time it was George Burgess who barged his way across the line to give the Rabbitohs a 14-0 half-time lead.
The news got worse for the Titans at half-time with crafty hooker Matt Srama being ruled out of the remainder of the game with syndesmosis of the ankle.
The Rabbitohs started the second half strongly, getting in prime attacking position before a quick play-the-ball found space out wide for Sam Burgess to barge over for his second try to extend the Rabbitohs lead out to 20-0 with 35 minutes remaining.
Back-to-back penalties piggy-backed the Titans up-field and they took full advantage when the high-flying Kevin Gordon outlept the Rabbitohs defence to reel in a Aidan Sezer kick to score out wide and reduce the margin 20-4 with just over 15 minutes remaining.
Any hopes of a Titans comeback were put on hold, when Isaac Luke sparked a blind side play to put returning winger Matt King in space before he lofted a pass back in field for utility Luke Keary to cross for his first NRL try to extend the Rabbitohs lead to 26-4 with ten minutes remaining.
The Rabbitohs finished the match in fashion with Keary earning his second try of the night with a piece of individual brilliance resulting him scoring under the posts to give his side the 32-4 victory.
The Titans will look to hit-back next week when they take on the Wests Tigers at Skilled Park on Sunday.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 32 (S Burgess 2, L Keary 2, G Burgess; A Reynolds 4 conversions, D Walker 1 conversion; A Reynolds 1 penalty-goal) defeated Gold Coast Titans 4(K Gordon try).