The Titans were unable to conjure another come-from-behind escape act as South Sydney escaped with a 32-12 victory at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney.
A week after climbing off the canvas three times to grab the win against the Tigers, the Titans managed to stem the bleeding after a horror first half but could not catch the Bunnies, who were riding on the back of a dominant display from fullback Latrell Mitchell.
The Rabbitohs scored 26 points in the first half but were held to only six in the second term as a rejuvenated and refreshed Titans team showed they were willing to do the work needed to dig themselves out of the hole.
A terrific try to Bryce Cartwright four minutes after the break got the Titans back to within touching distance at 26-12, and confidence grew with every piece of positive play and quality defensive effort.
Ultimately though, the Titans just had too much ground to make up and the Rabbitohs did what they needed to to put the game to bed.
Adding injury to the insult of defeat, the Titans seem set to be without centre Dale Copley for an extended period after he left the field just after halftime with an ankle injury.
Cartwright and Don look to be creating a terrific partnership on the right edge, and both were among the best for the Titans, with Ash Taylor, Jamal Fogarty, Jai Arrow and Moeaki Fotuaika among the others to shine.
The Titans went to the break trailing 26-6, and the 10 minutes rest and a dose of oranges could not have come quick enough after a first 40 minutes where very little went right for the Gold Coast.
While the Titans again were their own worst enemies when it came to errors and unnecessary workload, there was also not a lot of love from Lady Luck on offer for the Gold Coast.
The opening 10 minutes looked promising enough, with Latrell Mitchell putting the kick-off out on the full to have the Titans operating in good field position from the first minute.
Gold Coast looked authoritative with the opportunity, and were unlucky to not have their first points after only 90 seconds when a cross-field attacking kick slipped through the hands of Anthony Don.
Conversely, luck was on the Rabbitohs’ side, with Mitchell regathering a juggled ball to score in the fourth minute.
The Titans hit straight back four minutes later through a well-executed try to Phil Sami, who capitalised on some good lead-up work from Sam Lisone – making a cameo as the world’s biggest first receiver – as the Titans worked down the right edge to create the space for Sami to score.
Ash Taylor’s wonderful sideline conversion levelled the scores at 6-all, but it was there that fortune played against the Gold Coast.
Three successive sets in defence after a failed – but line-ball – captain’s challenge led to a try to Alex Johnston.
A bad call from the referees against Don, who ruled the Titan had taken the ball over the deadball line and completely missed the hand of Johnston, lead to a try to Gagai.
A wrong call of a knock-on against Brian Kelly led to a try to Braidon Burns – and without doing a hell of a lot wrong, the Titans suddenly found themselves 24-6 down after as many minutes.
With no possession and no field position, fatigue began to take a hold and even when the Titans were able to work their way into good field position – riding on the back of some wonderful kicking by Taylor – the opportunities were squandered through errors or poor options.
RABBITOHS 32 (Dane Gagai 2, Latrell Mitchell, Alex Johnston, Braidon Burns tries; Adam Reynolds 6 goals).
TITANS 12 (Phillip Sami, Bryce Cartwright tries; Ashley Taylor 2 goals) at Bankwest Stadium, Sydney.