The Titans only have to think back to their two matches against the Rabbitohs last season know what they have to do to beat the reigning premiers South Sydney today.
Go back to round 9 at Cbus Super Stadium and Souths scored four tries it the first 15 minutes to blow the Titans off the park to lead 22-0 before a stunned crowd of 19,107. Going into the match the Titans sat third on the ladder and Souths were seventh but Dylan Walker scored four tries in a 40-18 victory.
Then go to round 17, Souths sitting fourth and a depleted Titans sitting 13th and without Greg Bird, Nate Myles, Ashley Harrison, Dave Taylor, Ryan James, Aidan Sezer and Albert Kelly shocking the Rabbitohs 14-10 at ANZ Stadium. The attitude and aggression was vastly different to the previous meeting and that is what has to be shown today if the Titans are get a much-needed victory.
“There is no secret to how they play the game,” said coach Neil Henry. “Their big forwards roll down the field powerfully looking for quick the play the balls and we have to match that, and they have class in the backs to play off any momentum.
“Isaac Luke is back at starting hooker and is a real threat to us while Cameron McInnes coming off the bench is a smart young hooker too. The Burgess boys, David Tyrrell and Chris McQueen lead their pack.
“Greg Inglis heads a backline that has real attacking class with Alex Johnston, Dylan Walker and John Sutton who is back at five-eighth. We really have to be on our game to contain them.”
Luke certainly is a threat. He darts from dummy half more than any player in the game by a big margin – 119 times this season with Storm skipper Cameron Smith next with 74. The Burgess brothers have to be contained better than their last visit to the Gold Coast and while Adam Reynolds and Glenn Stewart are missing, Sutton is a strong presence at five-eighth with Luke Keary proving a good schemer and support player inside him.
Kevin Gordon returns to the Titans team on the right wing in place of the injured David Mead and will be out to make the most of his opportunity with the competition’s No. 2 try-scorer James Roberts inside him.
Roberts is up against his junior club – one of three Titans who have played for the Rabbitohs with Eddy Pettybourne and Dave Taylor who could be a massive key to how this match unfolds if he can regain that metre-gaining form of this time last season.
HEAD TO HEAD
Played 12: Rabbitohs 7, Titans 5.
At Cbus Super Stadium: Played 4; Rabbitohs 3, Titans 1.
TRIES SCORED: Titans 37, Rabbitohs 36.
TRIES CONCEDED: Rabbitohs 36, Titans 44.
COMPLETION RATES: Rabbitohs 74%, Titans 70%
GOALKICKING: Titans 79%, Rabbitohs 75%.
MATCH OFFICIALS: Referee: Grant Atkins. Assistant Referee: Gavin Badger. Touch Judges: Phil Henderson and Tim Roby. Video Referees: Ashley Klein and Ben Galea.
Televised: Fox Sports – Live 3pm
Match Officials: Referee: Grant Atkins; Assistant Referee: Gavin Reynolds; Touch Judges: Jeff Younis and Clayton Sharpe; Video Referees: Jared Maxwell and Ben Galea.
Televised: Fox Sports – Live 3pm
TITANS: Hoffman, Don, Roberts, Zillman, Gordon, Sezer, Elgey, Douglas, Moseley, Myles (capt), James, Taylor, Burr. Interchange: White, Pettybourne, Ridge, Mortimer, Ioane.
SOUTHS: Inglis (capt), Johnston, Walker, Goodwin, Gray, Sutton, Keary, T Burgess, Luke, Tyrrell, Lowe, McQueen, Clark. Interchange: McInnes, Brown, Grant, G Burgess, Grevsmuhl, Olive.