Sutton happy to risk Nines berth
He hasn't yet resumed full-time training after fracturing his fibula late last season but South Sydney back-rower John Sutton is still keen to play at the Auckland Nines.
Having only just resumed running over the past week, Sutton – speaking at the Nines jersey launch on Tuesday – is pushing Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire for a start.
Sutton's season ended frustratingly in the Rabbitohs' 47-12 loss to the Broncos in the penultimate round of the regular season, but he is willing to put it all behind him in 2016.
"The leg is coming along alright. I started running on it a bit last week and I should be back training fully with the boys in January," Sutton told NRL.com.
"They put a big plate and some screws in where it was injured so I was on crutches for eight weeks so that was half of my break gone, but I started walking towards the end which was great."
Unconcerned by the risk of re-injuring his leg or lack of fitness, Sutton said a Nines berth could prove crucial in extinguishing his latest injury demons.
"I really hope 'Madge' [Maguire] gives me a chance to play. I didn't get to play last year but I played the first year and I really enjoyed it," Sutton said.
"If you go in thinking [you may re-injure yourself] then you probably will. I have to go in there confident and will enjoy it. If I get the start then I'll be really happy."
As defending Nines champions, the Rabbitohs head into 2016 looking to repeat their early-year success.
As well as the Nines, South Sydney also won the Charity Shield in 2015 on their way to world domination following their World Club Challenge victory.
Sutton admits he watched on at home as the Rabbitohs secured a golden point victory over the Sharks in the Nines final with a tinge of sadness.
"I was definitely jealous watching on last year but it was great to see the boys win, don't get me wrong. It would've been good to get out there though," Sutton said.
"We just want to get out there and have some fun with our pre-season. We threw the footy around last year and managed the results so that's how we'll be approaching it again this year."
Meanwhile Sutton threw rookie outside back John Olive into the mix as a potential replacement for recently released Australian international Dylan Walker.
"I'd definitely love to see him get a crack," Sutton said. "He's a talent Johnny so it'll be good to see him earn a start in first grade."