Souths escaped with a fortunate but highly entertaining 22-18 win at Skilled Park in Round 22 last season.
Needing a win to maintain their spot in the top eight, the Gold Coast shot out of the blocks quickly as Scott Prince launched a towering bomb into the sun and Andrew Everingham spilled the pill right into the waiting clutches of Steve Michaels.
South Sydney’s response was more than a little lucky as they spread the ball to the right for Dylan Farrell to put in a speculative kick that bounced off the legs of Luke Bailey and into the arms of Everingham who passed back to Farrell for the try.
Two big calls from the video referee then swung the game in the Rabbitohs’ favour. First they had a try disallowed when Luke O’Dwyer was deemed to have pushed Chris McQueen out of the way in the lead-up, then Bunnies winger Justin Hunt was awarded a try despite suggestions McQueen had knocked the ball on.
The Titans were their own worst enemy 10 minutes into the second half when a long ball from Prince was plucked out of the air by Everingham who raced 80 metres to score and make it 16-6. Hunt crossed for his second soon after following quick hands to the left, but the Titans fought back with Aidan Sezer scoring off a Prince grubber kick and Kevin Gordon adding another in the corner before the clock beat them to the punch.
The Gold Coast ran for 1715 metres to Souths’ 1524 and enjoyed seven more sets with the ball in hand but couldn’t get the job done.
Five of the Rabbitohs’ backs ran for 100 metres or more, including five-eighth John Sutton who made 157 metres and added five tackle-breaks, while Nathan Peats made 49 tackles in centre-field.
Bailey was superb for the home team with 214 metres and 35 tackles.