The Rabbitohs hold on to get the two points to overcome some injury concerns, but plenty of positives to take away for the Titans.
The Titans came into their round three game with two losses and looked to at least show some life, even though they were down on three of their spine with Ash Taylor, Tyrone Roberts and Nathan Peats all ruled out. The Rabbitohs had their own problems with no Greg Inglis, which forced a reshuffle that was then reshuffled again in the first half after an injury to Braidon Burns. Cody Walker reminded us how good of a playmaker he was with a couple of try assists and a few tackle busts in a great performance.
It was very much a game of two halves with Souths well on top in the first period and looking like they could put a big score on the visitors, but an intercept try to Dale Copley right on half time slowed the Rabbitohs’ momentum. Whatever Garth Brennan said at half time must have worked, because the Titans looked like a different team defensively and while they lost the game, they have a lot of positives to take out of that last 40 minutes.
LATE LINE UP SHUFFLE FOR THE TITANS
With a mid-week pectoral injury to Nathan Peats, Garth Brennan was forced to change his lineup. Can’t help but wonder if it was purely the Peats injury or if it played a part that questions were asked after the Titans named an unchanged team that was 0-2 to start the season and coming off a horrible performance against the Sharks. Mitch Rein was recalled at hooker, big signing Shannon Boyd was shifted back to the bench, Ryan James moved to the back row to make room for Bryce Cartwright to start (what he’s done to keep a spot in the team is unknown, and why he’d get promoted to the starting lineup is a complete mystery), Copley started on the wing and Keegan Hipgrave joined the bench to join outside back Phillip Sami (who played zero minutes off the bench against the Sharks).
RABBITOHS INJURY WOES
With Inglis already being withdrawn mid-week, there was another blow for Souths early on with Burns going down midway through the first half with a hamstring injury. It looked very painful and his hand went up to alert the bench immediately before he was helped off the field. He didn’t return to the game and scans during the week will let us know the extent of the injury. Walker went down hard on his shoulder in the first half, and Adam Reynolds took a knock to the knee in the second. Both Walker and Reynolds played the rest of the game so hopefully they were only burner injuries.
BEING A TITANS FANS IS HARD
Another game of mixed emotions for Titans fans. It’s already been a rough start to the season with injuries to Ash Taylor, Tyrone Roberts and now a long term pec injury to Peats. Add to this the horrible performances put in during the first two rounds, seemingly a complete lack of urgency from some players, the coach’s nonchalant attitude after losses and the questionable team selections. This game had a bit of everything. From the sheer frustration of a few more silly errors and loose passes to nobody in the first half, to the admiration of Hipgrave reading a play just before half time to move to the other side of the ruck to drill Damien Cook leading to Copley taking an intercept to score in the corner, then back to frustration that Hipgrave hasn’t been in the team earlier. Rein provided some spark out of dummy half, which has been severely lacking, and Jai Arrow was impactful again with a great effort late in the first half that almost prevented the Ethan Lowe try. Defence is again going to be a topic of discussion for the Gold Coast, with the edges leaking points easily. The second half was an improvement as the Titans looked to be communicating a lot better and performed a lot better on both ends of the field.
SOUTHS JUST TOO GOOD
The night belonged to the outside backs from the Rabbitohs. Campbell Graham had a night out with a couple of tries including a screamer off a Walker kick. Walker and Reynolds controlled the game well by setting up tries and both showing off their running games and Dane Gagai was very good after an indifferent start to 2019. Curious to see how the Souths lineup looks from next week with the potential for a long lay off for Burns and Wayne Bennett’s comments on Inglis moving away from the fullback position. Allan and Graham looked the goods on the wings and Gagai is a great centre, so GI back in the centres and Johnston at fullback seems to be the logical choice.
Tries: Campbell Graham, Corey Allan, Ethan Lowe
Goals: Adam Reynolds 6/8
Tries: Brian Kelly, Dale Copley, Brian Kelly, Anthony Don
Goals: Michael Gordon 2/4
1. Alex Johnston, 18. Corey Allan, 2. Dane Gagai, 4. Braidon Burns, 5. Campbell Graham, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Adam Reynolds, 8. Tevita Tatola, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Thomas Burgess, 11. John Sutton, 12. Sam Burgess, 13. Cameron Murray. Interchange: 15. Mark Nicholls, 16. Ethan Lowe, 17. Kyle Turner, 20. Rhys Kennedy.
1. Michael Gordon, 2. Anthony Don, 3. Tyrone Peachey, 4. Brian Kelly, 20. Dale Copley, 6. AJ Brimson, 7. Ryley Jacks, 8. Jarrod Wallace, 18. Mitch Rein, 12. Ryan James, 11. Kevin Proctor, 17. Bryce Cartwright, 13. Jai Arrow. Interchange: 10. Shannon Boyd, 14. Phillip Sami, 16. Max King, 19. Keegan Hipgrave.