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Crichton triple, Souths beat Titans in NRL

NZN 16/06/2017 Matt Encarnacion

South Sydney have recovered from 14 points down to overpower a depleted Gold Coast, end a three-game losing streak and keep their NRL finals ambitions alive.

Rising star Angus Crichton and winger Alex Johnston scored five tries between them, while fullback Cody Walker grabbed one himself and set up another in on Friday night's 36-20 win.

The Rabbitohs were down 20-10 at halftime, but switched on the afterburners to cross for five unanswered tries in the second half to consign the Titans to their fourth straight defeat.

The win lifts the Rabbitohs back to within two points of the top eight, however Gold Coast, missing 11 first graders due to State of Origin and injury, fall back to 14th spot.

It was also South Sydney's first home win of the season.

"I always believe in my team, how they go about things and the way they train. But obviously, for the first 20 minutes, that was definitely not our style," Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire said.

"But they stuck at it, worked hard together and were able to dig their way out of it. That's the pleasing factor of obviously where we've been.

"The boys have been working hard to get a win over the past month and found a way to do it."

It was a strong statement from the home side who, after skipper Sam Burgess was ruled out on game day with a glute injury, looked dead in the water after 20 minutes.

In front of a crowd of 7163 at ANZ Stadium, the Titans were racing the clock early when hooker Pat Politoni scored from a Nathaniel Peteru offload and Ashley Taylor nailed a penalty.

Playing his first match since a four-game ban for alleged cocaine use, Kevin Proctor pounced on a ricochet to give the visitors a 14-0 lead after 17 minutes.

But the Rabbitohs responded with venom via an inspired solo try from Crichton, which was followed by Walker's long ball for Johnston to cut the lead to two.

The Titans looked to be back on track when Joe Greenwood powered over in the shadows of halftime despite the attention of five defenders.

But the home side came out a different outfit after the break, powering straight to fifth gear with Walker and Crichton crossing in the space of five minutes.

Bryson Goodwin also put his name on the scoresheet with an individual run before Johnston completed his double - and Crichton his hat-trick - late in the game.

Gold Coast finished the match with just one player on the bench after Greenwood and Ash Taylor came off with concussion and Politoni suffered a leg injury.

Titans coach Neil Henry liked his team's start but admitted they fell away at the end.

"We couldn't sustain it, really. It was a good start - plenty of energy but, in the end, we ran out of troops but also missed a lot of tackles in that second half," he said.

"I think the key was we really didn't defend our errors or penalties against us. And they were able to convert that into some long-range tries, which is disappointing."

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