The eyes of Souths Juniors President, Keith McCraw, have overseen many a player rise from nappy-grade, to the heights of the NRL and international stardom. This Saturday, McCraw will witness John Sutton’s name forever etched in Rabbitohs history when he becomes the Club’s most capped player.
“I’m so proud of him,” said McCraw.
“To pass 200, it’s just a huge achievement for anyone, but to be the one that holds the record at a club with the tradition of South Sydney, it’s just an outstanding achievement.”
The achievement is particularly special for McCraw when he considers the long list of legends that Sutton has now surpassed in the appearance stakes – even more-so given that those at the pointy end are all Souths Juniors.
“When you consider he leads a club of Bobby McCarthy, (Craig) Tugger Coleman, Eric Simms and Nathan Merritt – who have all played 200 games for this great Club – what makes me proud is that they’re all South Sydney Juniors.”
Before becoming President of the famous Club, McCraw was Souths Juniors’ Development Officer – an ever-present and familiar face at grounds throughout the district. It was in this capacity that he came to know John Sutton.
“I’ve known John more or less since he came into the footy family at about six years of age,” said McCraw.
“Sutto made all of our development squads as a 13, 14, 15 year old, played Junior Bunnies and then went into the Harold Mathews Cup, went on to the SG Ball and got graded at a really young age.
“He was showing that he always had the stature to be a first grader, but you never know at that stage. He certainly stayed at it and we are here where we are today because of that.”
The young Sutton certainly had a task standing out in one of Souths Juniors’ most famously successful junior sides, in the form of the Kensington United Dragons that won the Premiership on 10 successive occasions up until the under 16’s (seven seasons of which they were undefeated).
McCraw says that Sutton is a fine example of what happens at Souths Juniors, and the Juniors Chief is confident that he is overseeing the next batch of John Sutton’s.
“I think that we are currently overseeing the next batch of John Suttons to be quite honest.
“The thing about South Sydney Juniors is that the licensed club that dedicates so much money to it makes it a sport that’s affordable for all,” said McCraw.
“I think that a lot of kids that might not have had the opportunity have been provided it through the Club itself.
“You only have to look at our record – we’ve produced more than 60 internationals and 43 of them Kangaroos. It’s just a great district for football and it’s happening again this year. We’ve got great kids coming through once again.”
To find out more about Souths Juniors and how you can sign up to play rugby league for a Souths Juniors club, please click here.
Will you be there to support ‘Sutto' and witness history on Saturday? Tickets are available now!
A $25 ticket for an adult and child will be on offer for this weekend’s Dragons v Rabbitohs 'Men of League Heritage Round'
Fans will be able to purchase the special “Generation Pack” ticket for the Sydney Cricket Ground match on Saturday.
The special offer is aimed at celebrating Heritage Round by encouraging parents and grandparents to take a child to the league and share in the game’s rich history.
Members passes for both the Dragon and the Rabbitohs (Premium and Plus) will also be accepted on the day thanks to reciprocal rights, with the same agreement in place for the round 12 clash at ANZ Stadium.
In another win for fans, 2500 tickets to sit in the new SCG Members (Noble) stand are also available.
For all game day information including how to purchase tickets, please click here.