Sutton relates to Tiger cubs
When Rabbitohs five-eighth John Sutton debuted in the NRL as a 19-year-old in 2004, Wests Tigers halves Luke Brooks and Mitch Moses were both just nine – so you can believe the stand-in South Sydney skipper can relate to his opponents in Friday night's clash.
Sutton came into first grade at a time when playing the Rabbitohs was an easy win, the wooden spoon was almost guaranteed and then-captain Bryan Fletcher didn't dare throw any footy 'grenades' when celebrating a try.
Having stood the test of time, with Sutton playing the majority of his 236 games at five-eighth at a club who have used an unbelievable 61 halves partnerships since their readmission into the NRL in 2002, the 30-year-old had some choice words for the embattled Tigers halves.
"I guess it can be tough but when you're that young I don't think they have to be or would be worried about what other people say about them. They should be concentrating on what they can do for their team," Sutton said.
"I can't really remember those days or games [when I first came into the NRL]. I try not to because we never played that well back then. But [Moses and Brooks] are only young and the NRL is a tough competition.
"They are both really good players so we will have to make sure we're on our game this week. They are an enthusiastic team so if we're not at our best, they'll get us."
While the Tigers have scored the fourth-fewest points this season across the competition, and Brooks and Moses have produced just 12 try assists between them, they should take solace in the fact Sutton – a veteran of 11 seasons – believes even he has improvement in him still.
"My kicking is one area which I need to make sure I'm always improving at. Other than that I just try and play a simple game," Sutton said.
"Whether it's five-eighth or the back row, I'm enjoying running around with all the young boys now. They still make me feel pretty young which is good."
With a chance for the Rabbitohs to utilise Friday's clash as a four-point game with their first bye of the season in Round 15, Sutton said their focus is simply on taking down the Tigers.
Having won four of their past five Sutton still wasn't convinced the Rabbitohs were up to scratch despite annihilating the Warriors 36-4 last weekend.
"To be honest I thought we played pretty well but there are still plenty of things to improve on. I think our second half completions were way down. We did score some good tries but there's still a lot of improvement in us," Sutton said. "We just have to make sure we keep growing as a team and keep improving every week."