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South Sydney Rabbitohs slump to defeat but loss of Reynolds, Burgess may hit harder


Adam Pengilly

Gold Coast 14 South Sydney 10

Rabbit sigh: George Burgess is upended by Luke Bailey and Beau Falloon.

Rabbit sigh: George Burgess is upended by Luke Bailey and Beau Falloon. Photo: Getty Images

Penalties kept pace with points, both sides finished with near empty benches and the Gold Coast Titans limped to a win thought scarcely imaginable in a whistle-fest at ANZ Stadium on Monday night.

Staring down the barrel of a franchise worst seventh straight loss, the Titans outlasted a battered Rabbitohs - and Ashley Klein's never-ending whistle - to record a 14-10 win to end one of the most forgettable matches of the season.

Gold Coast coach John Cartwright won't care though. It was his side's first win since April 27 as the early season pacesetters at least edged a little further away from wooden spoon territory.

South Sydney versus Gold Coast
View Match Statistics
Players Keary Tries 1 Tries 3 Players Mead, Zillman, Gordon
Players Reynolds 1/1 (100%) Conversions 1 Conversions 1 Players Gordon 1/1 (100%), Mortimer 0/2 (0%)
Players Reynolds 2/2 (100%) Penalty goals 2 Penalty goals 0 Players
Players Field goals 0 Field goals 0 Players

And the news just got worse for Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire, who watched on as George Burgess failed to finish his first match since returning from injury and Kyle Turner also hobbled off.

A lame Adam Reynolds, who emerged for the second half when most thought he wouldn't after his record-breaking night, struggled through the second half with heavy strapping on his left knee.

Titans stand-in captain Will Zillman was another who failed to finish the match, which will be remembered for the abundance of penalties. In fact the final penalty count of 14-10 to the hosts was a mirror image of the eventual scoreline.

The 24 penalties in total according to Fox Sports Stats, which slowed to a crawl in the final quarter, were well and truly on pace to usurp the NRL record of 26 indiscretions racked up when Manly and the Warriors clashed in round five of 2006.

The end result will hardly make happy reviewing for Maguire, whose side forfeited the opportunity to haul themselves within two points of the top three sides with a bye on the horizon.

Instead the fourth-placed cardinal and myrtle will have to be content with stalling on 20 competition points for another week - the same tally shared by the 10th-placed Tigers in a crowded ladder.

Luke Keary's return from injury in the halves for the Rabbitohs was overshadowed by Albert Kelly's comeback from the bench for their rivals.

And it was topped off when Kevin Gordon first challenged Alex Johnston off a Daniel Mortimer bomb with 13 minutes left and then swooped on Brad Takairangi's speculator to hand the Titans their first lead. It was all they needed.

Maguire's reassembled cast was easier understood by going through those who actually started in their nominated positions rather than those who didn't.

Only five of Maguire's intended starting side manned the position they were intended to as the Souths coach handed Keary his first NRL appearance this year, recalled Dylan Walker from injury and unleashed all four Burgess boys again.

The Titans also had some relief in the injury front, Kelly returning from a long-standing calf and shin complaint to at least help ease the pain of Greg Bird, Nate Myles and Dave Taylor bunkering down for Origin III.

And they would hardly have been enthralled in Origin camp with a first tedious first half littered with handling errors and a whopping 13 penalties.

Before a wounded Reynolds tried to spark an insipid Rabbitohs in the second stanza, he at least set an NRL record for scoring in all 69 games he has played in since debuting in 2012.

The halfback, who will celebrate his 24th birthday on Thursday, can thank Keary for notching the milestone after the Rabbitohs' precocious talent engineered and finished Souths' only four-pointer before the break.

He kicked for Nathan Merritt on the left wing, who was unbelievably allowed to shovel the ball back infield after opposite David Mead didn't contest the bomb, where Keary picked up the scraps to score.

Reynolds' conversion and subsequent penalty goal had the hosts up 8-0 before Mead atoned for the Titans.

Kelly, thrown into the fray early for stand-in five-eighth Maurice Blair, sent Mead on a short dash to the line after the winger had loitered in the middle of the field from a previous play.

Zillman hauled Gold Coast level six minutes after the break after a Burgess double act invited the Titans down the Rabbitohs' end. George Burgess's shoulder collected Mead for the first indiscretion before Luke Burgess collared Matt White high.

There was no surprise in the manner South Sydney reclaimed the lead, a struggling Reynolds potting an easy penalty from in front.

But a dogged Gold Coast, who hadn't known a winning feeling for nearly half a season, clawed their way back into the contest and made South Sydney pay the ultimate price.

GOLD COAST 14 (K Gordon D Mead W Zillman tries K Gordon goal) bt SOUTH SYDNEY 10 (L Keary try A Reynolds 3 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: Gavin Reynolds, Ashley Klein. Crowd: 10,925.


  • dreadful of the worst i've ever witnessed...

    why players weren't sent to the bin is beyond me..refs need to take more control..24 penalties is a farce and destroyed the game..

    im amazed how teams can give away penalty after penalty on their own line, and then chat to the ref in order to soak up time and gain their breath...what happened to the quick tap rule?

    also, referees stand over a player scoring, see what unfolds....but still go to video ref!!! why??? it slows the game down..

    anz stadium has no soul...there were times during the match when you could have heard a pin drop...

    souths played a sunday arvo game in round 4....their next sunday arvo game is round 21!!! and guess what...its in cairns!!! the nrl might be losing a whole generation of spectators!! kids deserve better...surely each nrl team should be playing at least 1 sunday game / month??? looks like channel nine reigns supreme!!!

    finally, as much as the state of origin is enjoyable...1/3 of the regular season is destroyed!! the boys at phillip st need to sort this out sooner rather than later..

    i don't want to see the nrl lose its appeal, but after going to an afl game...and soaking in the atmosphere and non stop action....i'm getting nervous!! why, even the a-league is going ahead in leaps and bounds!!

    anyway...enough form me..

    a frustrated bunny and nrl supporter!!

    george g
    Date and time
    July 07, 2014, 10:43PM
    • Well said, George.

      The scheduling of matches should primarily be for the benefit of members & supporters.

      As a Sydney-based Bunnies member I'm dismayed by the games in Perth, Cairns etc. Throw in the away games, NZ & the like, and coupled with 'home' games at Homebush, and it's becoming quite difficult to maintain my enthusiasm - and I walk my dogs at Redfern park daily and see the team training several times a week!!

      All that aside, two losses in a row is very disappointing, especially this one. Without the efforts of GI & Sam Burgess this season, we would be well off the pace. We can only thank that there, quite frankly, are no standout teams this year, unlike most seasons. From that point of view we still have a chance. If Penrith are the yardstick, roll on September!

      Surry Hills (but in Krabi)
      Date and time
      July 08, 2014, 12:22AM
    • How do you like your grapes? Sour? I do feel for you Rabbits fans though, decades of misery and failure.

      Warren of Bondi
      Date and time
      July 08, 2014, 1:20AM
    • Worse game of year to date but that happens I guess.Is there a good reason for playing at that huge ANZ Stadium as it looks awfull for most club games.The Warriors tried Eden Park which has no soul even for most Union Blue games and thank god have committed back to Mnt Smart.
      We need a five minute sinbin for continued infringements and for players getting in refs faces damn near everytime they make a decision the players dont like.I thought the NRL made rule this year only captains could approach refs and then only at stops in play.Quick tap penalties are a joke due to the refs stopping them so they can get in place-Video refs are taking far too long perhaps allow only three looks then if they can't make a decision go with refs on field call or even only allow video refs rulle on touchdowns and let onfield refs worry about obstructions/knockons etc.League is so much faster than Union and needs to stay that way not turn into a stop/start game.

      Date and time
      July 08, 2014, 8:38AM
    • It has to be the most woeful game of football in history.

      If Maguire doesn't address the issues he has with the team, kiss the finals goodbye (if we even get there). We had no structure in attack, defense had no backbone, and every play was predictable before the play of the ball (if the ref's decided not to blow his whistle). Heck where was our captain in all of this, did not see him once give any communication and motivation to the team.

      Dreadful performance from a team who had really not changed from last year. Even though we had only 3 players in Origin and some injuries, the team brimming with big forwards, very capable halves combo (regarding if Sutton was 5/8th or not), we should have steamed rolled the Titans. Souths is a very different team from when the game was a Robina where both teams where at their full capacity!.

      The only players whom actually did perform was Keary and Toquri. I would have dropped the rest of the team for next week. Better still, make them play in the NSW Cup next week and hopefully they see how bad they truly are. I'm also tipping the bye to win next week and the Tigers in the NSW Cup too.

      Hats off to the Titans though! They truly deserved to win, even if the refereeing was taken out of the equation. Even though down in numbers of players from origin duties and injuries, they had at least structure, guidance, compsure and the vision of winning the game if they do not tire out. Beau Falloon was your greatest asset, he did direct the team around from the dummy position and motivated his team mates by his example.

      Souths Yobbo
      Shaking Headland
      Date and time
      July 08, 2014, 9:37AM
    • This is a good blog - lots of honest opinions without too much sniping from the peanut gallery. The NRL needs a real shake up regarding TV and SOO. This is not the time to be complacent.

      The competition is the evenest it has been for years with any of the top 10 teams in with a decent chance. As such, it is likely that the teams with the big game experience will be best placed.

      wear the fox hat
      Date and time
      July 08, 2014, 10:53AM
  • Boy, am I glad I didn't stick it to the Manly and Roosters supporters when their teams got beaten earlier this weekend! At this rate, I'm not to sure that my beloved Bunnies will even win the bye next weekend.

    Lewis Winders
    Date and time
    July 08, 2014, 12:00AM
    • Absolutely furious at the disgraceful refereeing. What a joke, all the big calls went against us. Typical bias against Souths. And it's not fair that we lose our superstar players for the game. We would have won by plenty had GI been there. The NRL should get real and suspend the competition for the whole duration of Origin. It's what they do in soccer. When we raise that trophy in October, it will be so satisfying knowing we overcome the NRL bias against us Redfern mob. Glory Glory to South Sydney...

      Bouncing Bunny of Struggle Street
      Date and time
      July 08, 2014, 1:17AM
      • Well I can't understand the reasoning for a dead Origin game which takes the likes of GI away but guess money takes precedence over club footie.

        Date and time
        July 08, 2014, 10:10AM
      • Bwahahah get the violins out. Sob sob it was the refs, boo hoo it was all our missing players.
        We haven't won anything in a 42 years it's our turn . sniffle sniffle

        The Kelbinator
        Date and time
        July 08, 2014, 3:35PM

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