South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold says it was unreasonable for his four State of Origin players to have backed up against the Titans on Friday night and endure a schedule of three matches in eight days.
Seibold said his four Origin players – skipper Greg Inglis, centre Dane Gagai and forwards Angus Crichton and Damien Cook – wanted to play against the Titans but he overruled them for their long-term benefit.
Up stepped players like Robbie Farah, Adam Douiehi and Cameron Murray in the 18-16 win over the Titans.
The Rabbitohs play Parramatta next Thursday night at ANZ Stadium and Seibold says it was not realistic for his Origin players to meet that demand.
"I had it in my head all week [that they would be rested]," Seibold said.
"They played Wednesday night, then we played tonight and next Thursday. I just don't understand how we can expect to play all three games.
"It was my decision. They all wanted to play; they were extremely adamant they wanted to play. But I made the decision that I wanted to prepare the best we could with the players we had.
Match Highlights: Titans v Rabbitohs - Round 14, 2018
"That's part of the plan. We're not just looking at the short term.
"It's no disrespect to our opposition tonight we practised as a normal week with the 17 we had. We wanted to make sure we manage the loads of our Origin guys.
"Now we have to prepare for next Thursday night against Parramatta."
Thankfully for the coach, Souths fought hard for a second crucial win without their Origin representatives after beating Cronulla 22-14 a week earlier minus the foursome.
Farah was first class in place of Cook at hooker, utility Doueihi was one of their best in the centres, scoring a try, and Murray put in 59 good minutes in the second row.
With the second Origin clash being played on a Sunday [June 24], the Rabbitohs' rep players will have 10 days break between the Eels clash and the Origin match, then travel to Cairns for their round clash with the Cowboys the following Sunday.
The three Burgess brothers are all likely to play for England against New Zealand in Denver, USA, on June 23, which means Souths could have seven players involved the weekend most teams will be enjoying a rest.