South Sydney’s 2014 premiership winning captain John Sutton is keen to continue playing on next season after turning the clock back to help the Rabbitohs secure a firm grip on a top four berth.
Sutton, who will be 34 in November, has found a new lease of life under the coaching of Anthony Seibold this season and was a key figure in Friday night’s 22-14 defeat of Cronulla at ANZ Stadium.
Already the most capped player in the Rabbitohs 110-year history, Sutton has told Seibold he wants to extend his career for at least another season.
“I think he is pretty keen to play on, he is playing oustanding,” Seibold said. “I have only had a brief conversation with him but I know he is keen to play on.”
Teammates and opposition players both believe Sutton is playing well enough to continue in 2019, with Sam Burgess declaring: “John Sutton is playing probably the best football I have seen him play for a couple of years”.
Cronulla captain Paul Gallen also praised Sutton, who made his Telstra Premiership debut for the Rabbitohs in 2004 against Brisbane.
"He is playing some of the best footy I have seen him play," Gallen said. "He was a five-eighth when he first started but he is playing tough now, which is what their whole team is doing.
“The Burgess boys are playing good footy, the two front rowers [George and Tom] are playing well and Sam, after last year in his first year back [from rugby union], is going well.”
Burgess also said he was proud of his brothers, Tom and George, who missed out on World Cup selection last season but has bounced back to top form.
“They are doing great. I am really proud of both of them, especially George,” Burgess said. “He came under a bit of criticism last year but he has had a great off-season.
“Thomas has been playing well for the last couple of years. Holding on to the ball makes it easier for the team. I am really proud of them, as I am of the whole squad.”
The win was the fifth in a row for Souths and firmly entrenches them in third place.
Seibold said he was pleased with the performances of the players who deputised for the club’s Origin contingent of Greg Inglis, Dane Gagai, Angus Crichton and Damien Cook, particularly former Test and NSW hooker Robbie Farah.
In his first appearance of the season, Farah made 59 tackles, including four in a row at one stage, and laid on Tom Burgess’s second try to seal the win 10 minutes before fulltime.
“Faz did a really good job tonight and I was really happy for Faz, it has been a challenging last 12 weeks for him,” Seibold said.
“I was really proud and I thought that Sam and John Sutton, as our leaders, did a particularly good job tonight.”