Rabbitohs topple Titans in close affair
South Sydney cemented their spot at the top of the NRL ladder with an entertaining 30-24 win over in-form Gold Coast Titans on Sunday.
The Rabbitohs, who trailed 18-12 during the first half, were thankful to a brilliant try-saving tackle by Greg Inglis on cousin Albert Kelly with just three minutes left on the clock.
With seven of the last eight games between the Rabbitohs and Titans decided by eight points or less, it was no surprise to see a close affair.
The match was an end-to-end treat for the 16,000-strong crowd, enjoying their first NRL game in the far north Queensland city since 2003.
The early signs looked ominous for the Titans when Greg Inglis crashed his way over from close range to score his 12th try of the season after 10 minutes.
However, the visitors' spirits were boosted when Sam Burgess, back from a one-game ban for a crusher tackle, twice dropped the ball while stretching for the try line.
The Titans took full advantage to score twice in the space of three minutes.
First the impressive Aidan Sezer produced a deft kick for the flying Kevin Gordon to touch down in the left corner, and then Greg Bird put halfback Kelly through a huge gap in the Rabbitohs defence.
The Rabbitohs hit back themselves in the 30th minute, Issac Luke crossing for the first time this season after beating Nate Myles to an Adam Reynolds grubber.
Once again the Titans responded in style, fullback William Zillman bursting through the line at speed and beating Inglis' desperate last-ditch tackle to dive over.
The Rabbitohs then produced a try of the season contender with the last play of the first stanza to tie the score at 18-18 at the break.
The ball passed through eight sets of hands before Dylan Walker collected a Reynolds cross-field kick to touch down.
The Titans paid the price for a poor start to the second half and repeated errors down their own end, with a rampaging Roy Asotasi and Ben Te'o both scoring to extend the Rabbitohs lead to 30-18 after 57 minutes.
Gold Coast hit back once again when Kelly crossed for his 10th try in 13 games this season after a neat break and inside-pass from winger Anthony Don, Sezer's conversion getting them within six points.
But Inglis' heroics ensured that was as close as they got.