The Rabbitohs came from behind to beat the Titans 36-20 at home, driven by a huge performance form youngster Angus Crichton on Friday night. South Sydney grab their first home win of the season and move closer to the top 8, while the Titans slip further behind with only 4 wins from 14 games.
Crichton continues to rise
Crichton has been a silver lining in what has been a below average season for the Bunnies, and his performance on Friday showed his worth as a starting back rower.
Crichton has been a terrific ball runner all season, showing great pace as well as solid work on the defensive end. In the first half he was relatively quiet, like the rest of the team, but the first moment of brilliance for Souths saw Crichton break through a huge gap close to the line and score their first try. Souths were given life after that moment, and from there Crichton was involved in almost every attacking move. A terrific run by Robbie Farah and Alex Johnston was finished off by Crichton on the next tackle, scoring to level the game and a kick to give Souths a 22-20 lead in the 51st minute. From that moment South Sydney truly outplayed the Titans, and in every facet they had control, with Crichton being in the thick of the action. His three tries and game high 200 running metres were supported by 3 line breaks, including a huge run to score their last try of the game in the 79th minute to cap it all off.
Souths’ first half blunders continue
The Rabbitohs have made it a habit of late to be slow starters, and claw their way back into a game when it is pretty much too late. The Titans were clinical early on, controlling 55 percent of the ball in the first half and having the bulk of attacking opportunities. The Rabbitohs had completed one set by the time Gold Coast had scored a try and kicked a penalty. A lucky deflection gifted Kevin Proctor a try off an Ash Taylor kick, following on from a great try from dummy half for replacement hooker Pat Politoni. By the 20 minute mark it was 14-0 and the Rabbitohs hadn’t even sniffed the line, or even had an attacking kick.
South Sydney showed a lack of urgency in the game, especially on a loose balls and their overall running game through their forwards. Unlike the Brisbane game last week, South Sydney had no impact early on, and were being fairly outplayed. Crichton’s solo run at the end of the first half gave South Sydney their first try and set them up for more attacking opportunities moments later, with Crichton involved again. The game itself became more respectable for the Bunnies, and a 20-10 score line should be considered a lucky scenario. A smile was on the face of Michael Maguire after their last try, but Coach will definitely be mindful of the Rabbitohs struggles in the first halves of games.
One season lives, the other dies
Going into the game, one team would be able to, theoretically, still shoot for the top 8 while the other side would pretty much be eliminated. Statistically it isn’t impossible for the Titans to make the finals, but judging by the other high quality sides, it will be a miracle if they are somehow able to slip in there.
That doesn’t exactly mean that South Sydney are now primed for a mid-season revival, not by a long shot, but it means they have something to build on as a bye round for them and a home game against the Panthers are the next two weeks on the agenda. Players like Reynolds, Farah and Walker out the back mean the Bunnies have talent to burn, it comes down to coaching and who can step up at the right moment for them. A tough schedule awaits with Penrith paying well at the moment and then games against the Roosters and Cowboys, away from home and at Homebush respectively.
Titans suffer from thin squad
Origin seems to affect every team; unless you truly are a rubbish side who boast no individual talent. Nevertheless the Titans were absent of three big names due to Origin, and others gone with injuries. A quick start, leading 14-0 and 20-10 at halftime should not have given them a sure feeling towards a win, given the Bunnies lack of dominance early in games. But it is easy to say ‘no men means no win’ and the Titans could only really play as hard as they could, and hope for the best assuming the Bunnies would come back. Classy playmakers like Adam Reynolds, Cody Walker, John Sutton and Robbie Farah helped the side propel forward in the end, and pound for pound, the Titans had no chance
Origin hurts teams to a degree, and I feel it should be played on separate weekends. But at the end of the day, it is a hurdle that the Titans should easily get over compared to some of the giant teams in the competition, and gams like these are the ones you need to step up in.
Tries: Crichton (3), (29m, 51m, 79m), Johnston (2) (35m, 66m), Walker (45m), Goodwin (61m)
Goals: Reynolds 4/7
Tries: Politoni (3m), Proctor (17m), Greenwood (39m)
Goals: Taylor 4/4