A head knock to South Sydney captain Greg Inglis soured an uninspiring 22-16 victory for the Rabbitohs over a brave Gold Coast at CBus Super Stadium.
Inglis was felled by an accidental arm to the head by Titans enforcer Ryan James while attempting to field a high ball in the 55th minute.
He did not return for the remainder of the match.
Having battled a bout of tonsillitis which kept him in hospital for three days prior to Wednesday’s State of Origin opener, the Test and Origin star started the game well with a 23rd-minute try.
A combination of valiant Titans goal-line defence and tame attack by the Rabbitohs kept the contest evenly poised until Alex Johnston, filling in at fullback for the concussed Inglis, dashed over the line to score his 30th NRL try in as many games 19 minutes from fulltime to give Souths a six-point buffer.
The Titans had late opportunities to snatch an unlikely win but eventually fell six points short in front of 15,583 fans.
Gold Coast were their own worst enemies throughout the match with a 63-percent completion rate which was compounded by a lack of discipline – giving away 11 penalties and having only 45 percent of possession.
After surviving an early first-half attacking onslaught, the Titans marched down the field and scored their opening try through winger Anthony Don in the 10th minute.
South Sydney struck back in the 23rd minute through Inglis after he had a no-try decision overturned by the video referee.
Speedy centre James Roberts snuck over out wide for the Titans after 33 minutes to give the home team a 10-6 lead heading into half-time.
The visitors cracked the line first in the second stanza off the back of a 40-metre burst by Inglis with Chris Grevsmuhl crashing over moments later to level the score at 10-all.
Johnston’s try and another to Grevsmuhl gave the Rabbitohs some breathing space on the scoreboard with a 22-10 lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
Don crossed for his second try six minutes from fulltime to offer the Titans some hope at 22-16, Lachlan Burr then losing the ball over the line with his side pushing to take the match into golden point.
However, Souths managed to hold on to claim a valuable two competition points which sees them consolidate their position within the top eight, while the Titans remain stranded on four wins for the season after losing their third-straight match.