TODAY |

Wayne Bennett praises 'outstanding' Benji Marshall for leading Rabbitohs comeback victory over Titans

Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett has praised the "wonderful" Benji Marshall for his brilliant match-winning performance against the Titans last night.

Marshall's brilliance overshadowed David Fifita's first-half hat-trick and a try-of-the-year contender by Gold Coast as South Sydney claimed a 40-30 win over the Titans.

The veteran playmaker, a late inclusion in the visitors' starting lineup by coach Wayne Bennett, scored two tries and had a hand in several others to seal a thrilling victory.

Aiming to bounce back from their 36-0 hiding by Manly in Mudgee last weekend, the Titans scored three tries in the final 10 minutes of the first half to take a 24-10 lead into the break.

Wrecking-ball forward Fifita claimed his second hat-trick of the season, including a rampaging second where he shrugged off six Rabbitohs' defenders on his way to the line, before a stunning length-of-the-field effort finished by co-captain Jamal Fogarty put the hosts in charge at halftime.

Souths came out of the sheds on fire in response, rattling up 20 points in the opening 20 minutes of the second half to storm into the lead.

Marshall, starting at five-eighth with Cody Walker moving to fullback to replace the suspended Latrell Mitchell, was at the heart of the second-half fightback.

The 36-year-old combined with Walker to send Dane Gagai over, then finished a sharp one-two with Keaon Koloamatangi to score his first of the night.

A trademark flick pass from Marshall sent winger Alex Johnston over in the 58th minute to put the visitors back in front.

Tyrone Peachey's smart one-handed pick-up and step levelled the scores at 30-all, but it was that man Marshall who created a break and then finished it off to put the visitors back in front.

"He's just your average guy," Bennett said when asked why he loves working with Marshall.

"Down to earth. Knows his game really well, knows all the processes that go to make a good game of football and his second-half performance tonight was pretty outstanding.

"I keep reading about clubs having overhauls of players and everything else, yet here’s a guy that nobody wanted. He’s been wonderful for us, we love having him and he loves playing with us."

Marshall equalled the record held by Adam Blair for the most NRL appearances by a New Zealander, with 331.

He will make the record his own next week against the Raiders, 18 years after he made his debut with West Tigers in 2003.