With just over two weeks remaining before the World Club Challenge, Rabbitohs veteran John Sutton said he hopes to be off to England to play St Helens at Langtree Park on February 22, despite a shoulder injury keeping him in doubt.
Despite a training mishap seeing him initially ruled out for six weeks, Sutton is hoping to get back a week earlier so he can play against the reigning English Super League champions.
It could've been a lot worse for the Rabbitohs' most capped player, with doctors originally predicting Sutton could be sidelined for up to three months.
"They thought I tore my labrum so they thought I might have needed a stablisation which would've put me out for 12 weeks. Thankfully I only needed a clean out – I had six bits of cartilage floating around," Sutton said.
"Hopefully I'll be back for the World Club Challenge – we'll see how we go. The shoulder has been going alright so hopefully I can keep working hard at it and get on that plane."
As South Sydney head into their first premiership defence in 43 years and their first ever World Club Challenge, Sutton said the mindset of the club hasn't changed over the course of the pre-season.
"There hasn't been a different mindset really," Sutton said.
"Madge is very focused in on making sure we're worried about now and not the past. Everybody has been looking forward to ripping into training and making sure we're in the best possible shape for this season."
Having followed up their NRL premiership by winning the Auckland Nines title last weekend, South Sydney now have a huge opportunity to head into the 2015 season with four titles under their belt – with the Charity Shield and World Club Challenge to come.
While they'll have to do it without experienced duo Sam Burgess and Ben Te'o, who both left the club at the end of last season, Sutton was buoyed by the impact new recruit Glenn Stewart has had on the club and the efforts of the club's youngsters – including Aaron Gray, Chris Grevsmuhl and Angus Crichton – during the Nines.
"[Stewart's] been training the house down. He's shed 10 kilos or so and his niggling injuries are looking pretty good. He's trained every session so he should be right to go," Sutton said.
"We lost a lot of experience with Sam [Burgess] and Benny Te'o leaving obviously but to be able to blood some young kids over the weekend too, it showed they're going to be the future of this club."
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