It was never a promising season for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
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A spirited second half from the South Sydney Rabbitohs has seen the cardinal & myrtle take a 36-20 victory over the Gold Coast at ANZ Stadium tonight, despite trailing 20-10 at halftime.
In front of what could only be described as a poor crowd of 7,163 at the Olympic venue, it was the Titans who made the most of proceedings in the first forty, Pat Politoni opening the scoring in just the first couple of minutes. With Taylor's conversion and a penalty goal added shortly after, the scoring was off to a brisk start.
Michael Maguire's side had been dealt a blow pre-game with skipper Sam Burgess a late omission after a glute strain suffered at training on Tuesday, instead they would have to rely on the leadership of Angus Crichton to help snap a three-game losing streak.
It wasn't looking good by the 20th minute, the Titans extending their advantage again, with a Kevin Proctor try pushing the lead out to 14-0 after Taylor's second conversion of the night, and the Rabbitohs looking well off their game.
Close to the half-hour mark the hosts faught back with Angus Crichton and Alex Johnston both picking up four-pointers, closing the gap to four points before an extraordinarily soft try to Joe Greenwood for the Titans set them back again, the visitors taking a 20-10 lead into the sheds.
From there, the Titans didn't trouble the scoreboard again. Cody Walker scored shortly after halftime to reduce the margin again before three tries in fifteen minutes for the Redfern boys saw them ahead by twelve and looking unshakeable.
Despite some brief flashes the Titans couldn't penetrate the Rabbitohs' line in the final stages to force a grandstand finish, instead Crichton managed to cap a memorable night with his third of the evening just before the final siren. Crichton finished with 4 line breaks and ran 172 metres, scoring 3 tries in the sixteen point win.
The Titans' injuries continued when Greenwood left the field after some friendly fire with James that ended his night early followed by Politoni to a leg complaint, and then Ash Taylor went off for an HIA assessment at the back end of the contest.
Making matters worse, Ryan James suffered a knee concern in the opening five minutes of the game, although he returned for a solid 60-minute effort.
South Sydney enjoy the post-Origin bye for the second time in four weeks next round, while the Titans remain in the key Friday night timeslot - and in Sydney - next weekend when they visit Campbelltown and battle the equally struggling Wests Tigers.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 36 - Gold Coast Titans 20
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Halftime Score: South Sydney Rabbitohs 10 Gold Coast Titans 20
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Angus Crichton
2 points - Tyrell Fuimaono
1 points - Pat Politoni
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (36)
Tries: Angus Crichton (3), Alex Johnston (2), Cody Walker, Bryson Goodwin
Conversions: Adam Reynolds (4/7)
GOLD COAST TITANS (20)
Tries: Pat Politoni, Kevin Proctor, Joe Greenwood
Conversions: Ashley Taylor (3/3)
Penalty Goals: Ashley Taylor (1/1)