Rabbitohs captain John Sutton will break the all-time record for most games for South Sydney on Saturday. Copyright: Renee McKay/NRL Photos. Credit: Renee McKay/NRL Photos. Copyright: Renee McKay/NRL Photos.
As the Men of League Heritage Round looms and a cracking game between the Rabbitohs and Dragons at the historic SCG beckons, humble Rabbitohs captain John Sutton will break a 36-year-old record by stepping out for his 212th first-grade game – the most appearances ever by a South Sydney player.
Currently equal with club legend Bob McCarthy, 29-year-old Sutton will break the record at a venue synonymous for hosting the Rabbitohs over the foundation club's 106-year history.
Standing on the edge of the SCG surface, it all seems to hit Sutton as to how big an achievement it truly is. But the skipper remains more concerned about how his team fares this weekend in what has been an indifferent start to the season by the Rabbitohs.
"Personally it's a great achievement for myself – but in saying that we haven't been playing good footy lately and I just really want to get out there and get the win this week," Sutton told NRL.com.
"We haven't had the best start to the season – I haven't been really focused on [the record] but now we've been talking about it more it's just hit home. I'm going to enjoy it and hopefully we can get the two points."
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While his team is of the most concern at this crucial point of the season, Sutton said he was honoured to break the record as club captain.
"It's going to be special and I can't wait to get out there," Sutton said.
"I was happy just to play one NRL game and now I've got 212 coming up. It's a huge achievement for myself but in saying that I'm looking forward to putting in a better performance than last week.
"To be captain now it's been good for myself. I think I've been really growing as a player since I've become captain. I've still got a lot to learn but I've been enjoying it."
And his stand-out memory over his decade-long career?
"My first-grade debut we played up in Brisbane and I scored a try so I was pretty happy. I think we got touched up – by 20 or 30 – but to score a try in your first game is one thing that really sticks out," Sutton recalls.
Expect Sutton to make more memories this season as he looks to help the Rabbitohs secure their first premiership since 1971 – starting this weekend against the Dragons.