South Sydney veteran John Sutton has confirmed he will retire at the end of the season, bringing to an end his 16-year NRL career with the Rabbitohs.
The premiership-winning captain announced his decision at the Redfern Town Hall on Aug. 14, and should finish with more than 330 NRL games to his name.
“I absolutely love this club and everything it stands for. It’s stood by me for 20 years and I know within myself I have given everything possible to pay the club back,” Sutton said.
Rabbitohs Chairman Nicholas Pappas, Souths head of football Shane Richardson and coach Wayne Bennett were also in attendance.
One of South Sydney’s favourite sons, Sutton made his Rabbitohs debut in 2004 when they were languishing in one of the roughest periods of their history.
John Sutton has announced he will call time on his career at the conclusion of 2019.
— NRL (@NRL) August 14, 2019
He has since gone on to play 329 games for the club, 111 more than the next most-capped Souths player, Nathan Merritt.
A Kensington United and La Perouse junior, Sutton was the skipper who guided the Rabbitohs to their drought-breaking title success in 2014.
“We’ve made some great memories together here, including the 2014 grand final win,” Sutton said.
“The World Club Challenge win in 2015 and countless other times on the field in front of the members and sitting in the dressing rooms with my team after a win.”
Sutton began his career as a centre and primarily a five-eighth, before revolutionising his game as a second-rower in the latter years of his career.
The back-rower’s future had remained a talking point throughout last year, before he eventually signed a one-year extension in the off-season.
It means the Rabbitohs will lose both Sutton and Greg Inglis in the space of six months, with the pair combining for almost 600 games of experience.
“We also haven’t finished the job this year yet,” Sutton said.
“My full focus is on getting the best out of every player in our team and giving ourselves every opportunity to win the comp again this year.”
— FOX LEAGUE (@FOXNRL) August 13, 2019
NRL Debut: Round 17, 2004 vs Brisbane
Premierships: 1 (2014)
Honours: NSW City (2008-2009), Most-capped Rabbitoh, Premiership-winning captain (2014), World Club Challenge, three-time George Piggins medallist (2009, 2012, 2013)