Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook says while his team's second-half resilience was encouraging, conceding four early tries was too big of a hill to climb in Saturday's 32-12 loss to the Rabbitohs.
The Titans were arguably the better team between the 30th and 70th minutes but couldn't make it count on the scoreboard after conceding a big early lead.
"It was a disappointing first half, it's always good when you can claim a good second-half performance but we had to work way too hard in the first half," Holbrook said.
"We didn't want the 50-50s bad enough, we gave them to many opportunities."
Holbrook said he didn't want to use the officiating as an excuse but believed there were a number of harsh or 50-50 calls that also went against his side, including a forward pass ruling and an unsuccessful challenge of a knock-on.
"With one ref, all the momentum we've seen in games, they spent 20 minutes of the first half doing ball work against us.
"We've got to hang in there and get ourselves out of it. It took until half-time to regroup, then we showed some good intent in the second half.
"We definitely took more than one step forward [in last week's win over Wests Tigers] but we have to do that more often."
Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Titans
Holbrook said Titans centre Dale Copley was "not great" after leaving the field with an ankle injury that will require scans but hopes a rib injury that troubled lock Jai Arrow would not be an ongoing one.
Asked to critique opposition fullback and man of the match Latrell Mitchell, Holbrook described him as "a great player".
"He's capable of that and more to be honest, he's a strike player no matter where you play him whether it's at fullback, centre or five-eighth."
Souths coach Wayne Bennett was less forthcoming after the former Rooster's 10 tackle bust, three try-assist effort.
"He was good," Bennett said.
"The position suits him, the amount of skill he's got."
If Mitchell plays in the front line at centre it is easier for other sides to mark up on him, according to Bennett.
"He did a great job at the Roosters as a centre, but he's going to do a better job at fullback."
Mitchell gets his first try in the red and green
Asked whether Mitchell was in the process of changing the opinions of those who doubted he could make the switch, Bennett said: "The only opinion that matters at this stage of his life is mine."
Bennett welcomed the win after three straight losses, though pointed out those losses were against three of the top sides from last season.
"It was a pretty challenging time. We just needed to win today to get some confidence and go forward from here," he said.