Gold Coast Titans vs South Sydney Rabbitohs: Five things we learned

The Bunnies notched a handy win on the road without their Origin stars, but what did we learn from an 18-16 result against the Titans on Friday night?

With no Greg Inglis, Dane Gagai, Angus Crichton or Damien Cook, the task of dispatching a struggling Gold Coast Titans side looked a lot more difficult for the Rabbitohs than it ever needed to be, but in a game not short on controversy, they managed to triumph 18-16 and continue to keep pace with the competition leaders.

  1. 1 The Titans are their own worst enemy

    Leading 4-0 just seven minutes into the contest, young half AJ Brimson slotted through an inch-perfect grubber kick and handed the easy opportunity to score to not one but two teammates.

    Fast-forward about two seconds and with both Keegan Hipgrave and Dale Copley hovering over the loose ball, the Titans managed to butcher a certain try.

    With both stretching out to score, Copley touched the ball forwarded into the outstretched arm of Hipgrave, forcing a knock-on and throwing away a golden opportunity.

    No other single play better sums up just how bad things are for the Titans in 2018.

    Throughout the rest of the night, the Titans would have Hipgrave sent to the sin-bin twice, make 14 errors and concede 13 penalties to just four.

    At 4-9, the campaign is now less about finals footy than giving first-year head coach Garth Brennan the chance to try and asses who isn't up to standard.

  2. 2 Sloppy Bunnies get the job done

    Sometimes, at this point of the season, it's more about winning than how you're playing and that will suit the Rabbitohs just fine after they managed to notch a win despite being several steps below their best.

    Much of their disjointed play can probably be attributed to the loss of Damien Cook, Greg Inglis, Dane Gagai and Angus Crichton, but with plenty of talent still on the park, the Rabbitohs and coach Anthony Seibold will probably spend a bit of time in the film room this week trying to pick apart the performance and improve moving forward.

    Despite grabbing the win, the Bunnies were probably gifted the two points by a Titans side which continues to look more likely to shoot itself in the foot than fire in anger at their opponents each week.

    With a sub-par completion rate of 28 from 44 sets (64% completed) and plenty of unforced or silly errors, the Bunnies were far from their polished best and will want to use last night's efforts as a turning point.

  3. 3 Well, at least the forward pack had a go

    Overall, Friday night's effort for the Titans was pretty average, but you've got to hand it to Jarrod Wallace and Ryan James for their efforts in trying to deny the seemingly inevitable loss.

    James was close to the best player on the park as he scored two tries, made 46 bone-crunching tackles and ran for 163m from 20 runs, putting himself back in the frame for an Origin selection call should the New South Wales Blues lose a forward between now and game two in Sydney on June 24.

    Wallace had copped plenty of criticism for his poor showing for Queensland on Wednesday night, but he too stood up and did everything he could to keep the Titans in a close contest.

    Wallace would finish with 168m from 14 runs and 34 tackles as he did his best to bounce back and keep himself in the selection talk for game two.

    Ultimately, it wasn't enough to stave off a ninth loss of the season, but both James and Wallace deserved to be singled out for their efforts.

  4. 4 Brave in defeat, but what can Brennan do?

    No one could suggest the Gold Coast Titans weren't brave across the balance of their game against the Bunnies last night, but once again they lacked the composure and polish to get the job done and grab a much-needed win.

    Things have not gone to plan for first-year head coach Garth Brennan and it's hard to see what he can do to turn things around in the short-term.

    Brennan has shuffled his deck consistently, he's tried different options in the halves alongside superstar Ash Taylor, he's dropped forwards and changed up backline options, but there's not much else waiting in the wings and change for change's sake won't suffice from here.

    From here on out, 2018 is about working out who has a future at the club moving forward, but it's hard to see anything but a dramatic roster overhaul changing fortunes on the Gold Coast.

  5. 5 Farah turning back the clock

    I've been fairly critical of Robbie Farah over the course of the last two or three years, and while I stand by much of what was said or written, I do have to concede that he's been a strong performer over the last few weeks while the Rabbitohs have been without Origin dummy-half Damien Cook.

    Farah looks like a player of old, darting out of dummy-half and making yards at will while also seemingly choosing perfectly when to interject himself into the contest or merely shovel passes out to his playmakers.

    Credit where credit is due, in what's probably his last year in the league, Robbie Farah has managed a couple of vintage displays when the Bunnies needed him most.

    What were your highlights from South Sydney's 18-16 win over the Titans at Cbus Super Stadium? Let us know in the comments below.

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Daniel Lang

Rugby League & Cricket editor at RealSport.

Daniel is a passionate advocate for the game of rugby league and the development of the sport across the world and, as such, writes with a zeal and determination to spread the gospel of the game.

A huge fan of cricket, football, NFL, Tennis and Supercar racing in Australia, Daniel can quickly find himself a casual fan of just about any sport after putting his mind to watching it.

Daniel is also one-half of the hugely successful podcast 'Panthers Weekly with Strawbs & Teach' where he talks all things Panthers Weekly while he also hosts the current affairs show 'the Strawbs Show' and the 'Summer of Cricket with Strawbs & Shnuu' as well as appearing on the Sydney FC covering 'Nothing But Blue Skies' podcast occasionally.