Rabbitohs rule Roberts out of Titans clash

Laine Clark
James Roberts has not been selected to play for South Sydney this weekend against the Titans

South Sydney centre James Roberts' NRL return has stalled after being ruled out of Saturday's clash with Gold Coast Titans at Bankwest Stadium.

Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett said he would give Roberts another week to regain full fitness after the flyer missed the past two matches following a stint in rehabilitation.

Braidon Burns now slots into a South Sydney backline that will welcome back playmaker Cody Walker after completing a two-game NRL ban for his street fight last December.

Bennett said Roberts was in a "good place" mentally and understood the decision to sideline him for another game.

"I think he realised he is not where he should be. He's not quite there yet so we thought we would be better waiting another week," he said.

"(But) I think he is pretty happy, in a pretty good place."

Bennett was excited by the prospect of star five-eighth Walker's return as South Sydney looked to end a three-game losing streak.

While happy with their effort since the NRL resumed, Bennett said execution had been a problem - a problem he believed Walker would help rectify against a revitalised Titans.

"He will make a difference there is no doubt about that," he said.

"Cody means a lot to everybody because of his energy, his great skill level and ability to play what is in front of him."

Bennett also issued a sobering warning to Gold Coast - fullback Latrell Mitchell was only going to get better.

Mitchell played his best game yet in the No.1 jersey since his much debated switch from centre this year in last round's tough 22-8 loss to Melbourne.

Bennett said it was just the tip of the iceberg.

"He is in a great place right now," he said.

"I like what he brought last week and there is no reason why he won't get better - he will get better."

Bennett said he was wary of a Titans outfit that ended a 364 day wait for a win with their last round upset over Wests Tigers.

The Rabbitohs will line up against the same 17 that caused the 28-23 boilover after fullback Tyrone Roberts (ankle) was again ruled out by the Titans.

Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook said his side weren't getting too carried away after their drought breaking triumph.

"I don't want to downplay the win, it was awesome. But we have to get on with it," he said.

"They (Rabbitohs) are going to be more dangerous in attack (with Walker) - it will be a tough test."

STATS THAT MATTER

* South Sydney have a 1-3 record for the first time since 2014, the year they won the premiership

* Wayne Bennett has won eight of the past nine matches as coach against the Titans

* The Titans are the first team in history to concede more than 20 points in 15 straight games