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Titans fall to Rabbits, but remain in finals hunt

The Titans remain in seventh spot on the NRL ladder, despite a 32 points to 6 loss to South Sydney in Round 22.

The Titans had their chances, but the Rabbitohs showed why they are among the premiership favourites with a controlled display.

The Cbus Super Stadium surface was greased with rain just before kickoff, with both teams tackling slippery conditions in the first half.

The Titans were coming off three-straight wins, while the Rabbitohs were looking for their tenth in a row.

After a few minutes of feeling out, it was Souths who attacked first through Cody Walker.  The five-eighth tested the Titans right side defence, running the ball on the last, but the Titans held strong.

Rd22 Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Titans

Tino Fa’asuamaleaui made an error as the Titans came out of their defensive end on the following set and South Sydney capitalised.

The scrum was set centre field, 12 metres from the Titans goal-line and Damien Cook and Latrell Mitchell put on a nice set play.  The hooker received the ball at the back of the scrum and after drifting across the field, he turned Mitchell back on the inside who was too powerful and able to score beside the posts.

The Titans made back-to-back errors and were fortunate that Adam Reynolds couldn’t apply pressure, with the Rabbitohs halfback kicking the ball dead to give the Gold Coast a reprieve.

Brian Kelly and Beau Fermor looked dangerous down the left hand side, and it was Kelly who made half a break to put the Titans in a good position.  Ash Taylor rolled a nice kick into the Rabbitoh’s in-goal, but Cody Walker beat a swarm of Titans to get back into the field of play.

The Titans had a good period, attacking and threatening the Rabbitohs line.

First is was an early kick from AJ Brimson that saw Latrell Mitchell collected by Patrick Herbert as he attempted to come off his own goal line, the Titans centre dragging the Rabbit into touch.

With the ball 10 metres out and right in front, this time it was Toby Sexton who put the kick in with Kevin Proctor trapping Josh Mansour in-goal.

With a third crack at the Rabbitohs line, Jarrod Wallace made an error and the momentum shifted back the way of the Sydney team.

Former Titan Jai Arrow claimed a try when he crossed the line, but some great defence from Proctor and Sexton managed to keep the ball off the ground.

Fermor found space down the left and the second-rower showed off his pace as he ran down-field.  With Rabbitohs jerseys blocking a pass back inside to his support players, Fermor looked for the kick but over-cooked it and it flew dead in goal.

Cody Walker had a strong first half and it was a kick that skidded off the damp surface into the Titans in-goal that forced AJ Brimson to knock the ball dead as Souths attackers lurked.

The pressure forced a line drop out and the Rabbitohs capitalised on the possession.  With an overlap created on the right side, Josh Mansour was able to score.

The Rabbitohs had another when Adam Reynolds crossed after 29 minutes, although this one had to be checked by the video ref.

A high ball was contested by AJ Brimson, but it was Keaon Koloamatangi who was able to get the touch for South Sydney.  The Rabbitohs forward was deemed to have knock the ball back, with it then bouncing forward off his head and hitting the ground.  Reynolds scooped up the loose ball and ran around to score beside the posts.

Five minutes later, the Rabbitohs had their fourth try of the half with Braidon Burns scoring.  Jai Arrow was able to get an offload with three Titans in the tackle, the ball eventually ending up with Cody Walker who bounced of Patrick Herbert and found Burns.  Despite a desperate effort from Greg Marzhew, Burns was able to juggle the ball and score.

The Titans had their changes, but ultimately it was errors that cruelled their first half attack.  Kelly again made a break to put the Gold Coast side into attacking territory and was aided by a penalty to follow.  With a set starting 30 metres out from the Rabbitohs line, the Titans first tried right and then came left as they looked to pierce the defence.  The ball was put down and that was the final chance of the half for the Titans.

Adam Reynolds attempted a two point field goal as the half-time hooter sounded but was unsuccessful and it was the Rabbitohs that took a 24-0 lead into the break.

The Rabbitohs threw another scoreboard punch straight after the break.

Cody Walker found Braidon Burns with a flat pass close to the line, and after entering the game as a late call up for Dane Gagai, Burns had a double.

Souths thought they had another a short time later, when Mitchell crossed.  The lead up showed that Marzhew tackled Burns who lost control of the ball which bounced before being picked up by Mitchell.

With 25 minutes left in the game, David Fifita ran a beautiful line to collect a pass from Tyrone Peachey close to the line and appeared to score.

Ankle tapped as he went through the line, Fifita was falling as he powered towards the line.  Latrell Mitchell managed to challenge the Titans back-rower and forced an error, with the chance being the Gold Coast's best to that point.

Reynolds knocked over a penalty goal with 20 minutes remaining to give the Rabbitohs a 32-0 lead.

The Titans first points came through Corey Thompson, with the winger scoring in the 65th minute.

Quick hands from Sexton, Taylor and Kelly saw the ball find Thompson who sprinted 20 metres to score in the left corner.

Sexton converted from the sideline to get the score back to 32 points to 6.

Peachey had a chance for more points, making a mad dash down-field.  He broke the line inside the Titans half and finished just centimetres short as the Rabbitohs cover defence shut the play down.

The Rabbitohs had the final say, with Josh Mansour scoring in the 75th minute.

The Titans hold on to seventh spot despite the result, while the Rabbitohs sit third.

The Gold Coast will get another chance to test themselves against a top team, with a home game at Cbus Super Stadium against the ladder-leading Melbourne Storm next Thursday night.