‘Us Suttons bleed red and green’: Rabbitoh royalty, from head to toe

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John Sutton went on a family holiday to Bali years ago and decided he wanted a tattoo. His dad John liked the surf over there and used to paddle out to the break on an annual trip with his son.

But this particular trip Sutton wanted a permanent reminder of his "other" love outside of family and surfing. He sat under a gun and had a tattoo of a rabbit sketched onto his foot. No parents have ever celebrated body art as quick as Sutton's, John and Elena.

"Us Suttons bleed red and green, no other colours but red and green," Elena said. "I'd rather him retire than play with any other club."

So in the same room the famous South Sydney club was born, you're almost certain if Sutton's parents cut their son open there would be a tinge of green coursing through his veins too. The 34-year-old had just announced his NRL retirement at the end of the season, the centre of attention upstairs at Redfern Town Hall. He'll finish the club's most capped player and a premiership captain.

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He's worn cardinal and myrtle for almost a decade and stood like a cardinal at the end of it.

One by one his teammates lined up to approach and embrace him, a Rabbitoh royalty who is finally leaving the only church he's ever known – at least in regards to playing. Greg Inglis felt compelled to be there, watching from a side door. Todd Greenberg broke from the NRL chief executives' conference down the road to present Sutton with his 300-game ring, the only player to achieve the feat for the "pride of the league."

I'm not sure we ever would have got there if the board wasn't able to rebuild this club – and rebuild the club around John Sutton.

Shane Richardson

Sutton spoke of what South Sydney meant to him, but the real question was how much does Sutton mean to South Sydney?

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"I'm not sure we ever would have got there if the board wasn't able to rebuild this club –and rebuild the club around John Sutton," general manager of football Shane Richardson said.

For the last few weeks Russell Crowe has been texting Richardson. The club has got one spot left on its 30-man roster for next year. It's been thought for months Sutton was unlikely to go on, but Crowe has been telling Richardson to keep the position open.

But Mr South Sydney just can't go on one more year.

Wayne Bennett sat at the end of the table and joked he's thankful Sutton has had enough because he thought they were going to lose him on a sandhill last summer. Typical of the man and the club, he returned.

"I never thought I'd play 100 games, 200 games … so to play 300 games for a club I love is just amazing," Sutton said. "I'm truly blessed. It's been a rollercoaster. Growing up in the area and playing for the juniors, it's just in me. I think my mum would probably kill me if I tried to leave. It's been easy for me to stay here."

Souths favourite: John Sutton will finish his career as a member of the 300-plus-game club.

Souths favourite: John Sutton will finish his career as a member of the 300-plus-game club.Credit:AAP

Even when he found a young lady to date, Sutton was wooed by a South Sydney fan. He now has two kids with his wife Stacey, who told of her husband having to sleep a lot more than usual lately as he tries to recover from the brutality of playing NRL each week.

"My dad is a massive Souths fan," Stacey joked. "When I brought him home my dad was the happiest man ever.Read More – Source

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