How far would you travel to see your Rabbitohs play in a Grand Final? Club Member, John Webster, has travelled 16,479km from Switzerland to fulfil a pact he made with himself way back in 1971.
After the Rabbitohs won their 20th Premiership against the Dragons in the 71 decider, Webster made a mental note that he would be at the Club’s next Grand Final.
Forty-three years later, he’s kept his promise, with the proud Rabbitoh travelling home to take part in the historic moment.
“I was here in 1971 when we beat St George – sitting I think in the Sheridan Stand. It was always a matter of; ‘I was at the last one (Grand Final), I’m going to be at the next one’.
“I’ve been out here the last three years for the Final – unfortunately we fell against Canterbury, we fell against Manly. This year obviously we didn’t fall, and this year it’s building up and I’m sure we’re going to come out on top.”
Asked what he would have done if he couldn’t make it for the occassion, Webster’s response may be tongue in cheek, but a sentiment that Member’s everywhere would relate to.
“I don’t know if I could have lived,” laughed John.
“As a South Sydney supporter, you’ve got to be here. You cannot stay home, you cannot miss this moment.”
Growing up in a golden era for the Rabbitohs in Maroubra during the side’s last run of Premiership success, Webster was hooked on the red and greens, in part thanks to the presence of a Rabbitohs legend who lived just down the street.
“It’s in my blood,” said John.
“I remember as a little kid the first time I knew about Souths was in 1963 and those were the days when we had the residential requirements and the players lived in the area.
“Bobby Moses lived along the street from us and we used to talk about ‘oh there’s a footballer from Souths who lives down the street’ – and from then it was always Souths.
“My mum knew whether we had won or lost from the mood I was in when I came home after – this was as a kid.”
Despite having lived in Switzerland for the last 24 years, for John, his passion for South Sydney and his red and green roots are still as strong as ever
“Souths are the people’s team – it’s a cliché that gets used a lot,” said John.
“Anyone who grows up in this area – you have to support Souths. You have red and green blood running through your veins, and that’s all you want.
"We don't have 13 or 17 players out there. We have 35,000. Every one of us is making every tackle, is making every run up with the ball - they've got to get out there and help the boys!"