A sloppy but understrength South Sydney have extended their NRL winning streak to six, defying Gold Coast in an error-riddled game without all four of their State of Origin stars.
The third-placed Rabbitohs prevailed 18-16, hanging on despite a superb two-try performance from Titans captain Ryan James.
"We couldn't seem to find our rhythm," Souths captain Sam Burgess said.
"We managed to hold on ourselves defensively but it certainly was not our greatest performance."
The Titans endured 10 minutes with 12 men in each half after firebrand Keegan Hipgrave became the first player since Mick Buettner in 2002 to be sin-binned twice in the same game.
In a stop-start affair, what the Titans lacked in discipline, the Rabbitohs made up for in sloppiness.
Both teams butchered tries but South's 16 errors kept the Titans in the game, despite the hosts giving away 12 of the night's 16 penalties.
An early second-half penalty proved the difference as each side scored three tries. Alex Johnston's 47th-minute effort was enough to keep the Rabbitohs in front, despite James charging over from close range in the 31st and 59th minutes in his best performance of the season.
Souths went without their entire Origin contingent after Angus Crichton and Damien Cook joined Greg Inglis and Dane Gagai on the sidelines as part of coach Anthony Seibold's representative management plan.
He said the absence of the quartet wasn't to blame for their off night.
"I was really comfortable with our preparation; no excuses, we weren't good enough at holding the footy and the two Ryan James tries were really soft."
Game-ending injuries to Max King (shoulder) and Moeaki Fotuaika (head knock) meant long nights for Gold Coast's Queensland pair Jarrod Wallace and Jai Arrow, who were playing for the second time in three days.
The Titans, in Garth Brennan's rookie coaching season, drop to 4-9 and further adrift of the top eight.
"Some one-on-one misses and decisions on an edge (defensively) cost us," Brennan said.
Despite admitting his side needed to address its lack of discipline, Brennan tellingly refused to comment when asked about the officiating.
His attitude was in direct contract to Seibold's, though.
"One of the things the Titans do well, I think they're ranked number one in the comp for slowing down play the balls. They came with a plan to slow us down," Seibold said.
"I think there were plenty of penalties that were deserved and warranted."
Australian Associated Press