The Gold Coast Titans under-20s side have narrowly gone down 30-26 to the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Cbus Super Stadium today.
The young Titans went into the half-time break trailing 18-14 but started the second-half in sensational fashion with a dominant opening 20 minutes to score two quick tries to edge out to a 26-18 lead.
But Souths kept in range with the contest and managed to score two late tries with winger Josh Ellison grabbing his second and Jordie Hedges converting his fifth try to give the visitors the lead going into the final five minutes.
The Titans had one last attacking set on Souths line but were unable to get across the line with Souths intercepting the ball to secure the 30-26 victory.
It was the away-side who opened the scoring through half Chad O’Donnell who sliced through some soft defence to score adjacent to the posts before Hedges added the extras to give Souths a 6-0 lead after four minutes of play.
With their first attacking set the Titans managed to hit back with a neat backline play resulting in winger Christian Mika crossing in the corner to reduce the deficit back to 6-4 after ten minutes.
After the game turned into an arm-wrestle it was Souths who broke the deadlock in the 21st minute with crafty halfback Eli Levido dummying his way through the Titans defence to score under the posts to give Hedges an easy conversion and the side a 12-4 lead.
The Titans capitalised on quality attacking field-position in the 29th minute with Brian Kelly stepping his way through the defence to score under the posts. Souths used their captain’s challenge to review the decision but with the video-referee ruling with the on-field decision to award the try, the Titans narrowed the margin to 12-10.
Souths responded with a try of their own in the 35th minute after barnstorming utility forward Toby Rudolph made a break up the middle before spreading it wide on the following play for Josh Ellison to score in the corner. With Hedges converting the extras from the sideline Souths took an 18-10 lead.
An error from the following kick-off gifted the Titans an opportunity to hit back before the break and they took full advantage with Tevita Folau scoring in the corner to reduce the half-time deficit back to 18-14.
The Titans started the second-half the stronger of the sides and were rewarded in the 43rd minute when they capitalised on a Souths error to spread the ball wide for Hudson to score in the corner before converting his own try to give the Titans a 20-18 lead.
With the momentum in their favour, the Titans extended their lead in the 55th minute after Deacon Fletcher getting away a great offload for Chris Law to score in the corner. With Hudson adding the extras the Titans shot out to a 26-18 lead.
The Titans dropped the ball from the kick-off, gifting Souths attacking position and they capitalised through a barnstorming Wallace Tangiiti who couldn’t be stopped from crashing over the line. Hedges converted the try to reduce the Titans lead out to 26-24 with 20 minutes remaining.
Souths took the lead back for the first time since early in the half after Ellison grabbed his second try of the afternoon before Hedges added the extras from the sideline to give the visitors a 30-26 lead with under ten minutes remaining.
The Titans had one last set on Souths line to attempt to score but Souths were able to defend their line and secure the 30-26 victory.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 30 (J Ellison 2, C O’Donnell, E Levido, W Tangiiti tries; J Hedges 5 goals)defeated Gold Coast Titans 26 (C Mika, B Kelly, T Folau, S Hudson, C Law tries; S Hudson 3 goals).