Sutton racks up 300 for Souths
He was the first Rabbitohs skipper in 43 years to lift the premiership trophy when the Bunnies downed the Bulldogs in the 2014 grand final, and on Friday night, John Sutton will become the first player to chalk up 300 games in all grades for South Sydney.
It's an incredible achievement for the 32-year-old who is set to run out for his 273rd NRL game against the Titans on Friday night almost 13 years since he made his first grade debut.
Having grown up in the area, Sutton is South Sydney through and through.
He played most of his junior footy for Kensington United before graduating to South Sydney's Jersey Flegg where he played 18 games and Reserve grade where he played 10 matches and has epitomised what it takes to be a Bunny ever since.
Sutton has spent most of his career at five-eighth or in the back row, but he was a centre in his junior days, and quite blasphemously, idolised a certain Dragons star instead of someone from the club he barracked for.
"Growing up in the area and playing all my footy here, this club means everything to me. I Love the club, my family loves the club and all my friends go for Souths," Sutton told NRL.com at his second home – Redfern Oval.
"I played for Kensington pretty much my whole junior career and we had the same uniform as the Dragons with the Red V so I used to love Trent Barrett because he was a bigger five-eighth."
Sutton's debut was a 48-28 loss to the Broncos in Round 17, 2004, and remarkably, he is the only player from that game who is still in the NRL.
"It just goes to show how old I am!" he laughed.
"I scored a try, but we ended up copping a flogging.
"I was in awe with who I was playing against because they had guys like Ben Ikin and Gorden Tallis so it was a dream come true to play against some of those guys. It was a big crowd at Suncorp Stadium and it was the best atmosphere I'd been a part of."
The former skipper is off contract at the end of the season but would like to go around again in 2018 as he closes in on the 300-game mark.
Whatever happens next year, Sutton will go down as the man who skippered the Bunnies on that fateful night in 2014 when the foundation club broke their 43 year premiership drought with a win over Canterbury; a stunning turnaround given the Rabbitohs claimed the wooden spoon in his debut season 10 years earlier.
"It was one of the best feelings ever. It's hard to win a comp but I was lucky enough to do it, and what's more, I got to hold the trophy in front of our fans. Now I'm just trying to do my part for the team to try to get some wins," he said.
"I haven't got anything sorted yet but hopefully we can get something sorted soon."
The significance of Friday's milestone hasn't been lost on his teammates with Rabbitohs winger Alex Johnston paying tribute to his veteran comrade.
"He's a legend of this club, so to be a part of this game is an honour," Johnston told NRL.com.
"To see him get this accomplishment is a big deal because he's had a big influence on me since I joined the club."