As the Rabbitohs and Roosters prepare to do battle for the Ron Coote Cup, we take a look at the man for whom the trophy is named – the Prince of Locks, Ron Coote.
A product of Kensington, Ron Coote is revered by both the Rabbitohs and the Roosters, having played for, captained and won Premierships with both Clubs between 1964 and 1978. The Souths Junior was also an accomplished representative player, having represented NSW (15 caps) Australia (23, including World Cup matches) as well as Captaining his country.
But perhaps the greatest vindication of Coote’s talent came in 2008, when he was named in the Australian Team of The Century alongside the game’s greatest names including his former Rabbitohs Coach, Clive Churchill. Coote was also named in both the Rabbitohs’ Dream Team as well as the Roosters’ Team of the Century.
Coote was a devastating runner of the football and an even better defender. Known for his text-book cover defensive style, Coote fast became the bane of opposition attacks playing against the Rabbitohs with his ability to hunt down fast opponents, cutting them down from behind in decisive fashion denying countless tries in the process.
Coote began his first grade career in 1964 in a building South Sydney side that bore the seeds for one of the Club’s greatest eras.
The following year, Coote played in the historic 1965 Grand Final where the Rabbitohs took on the might and experience of a St George Dragons side that would eventually go on to win 11 Premierships in a row.
The experience of Saints held out on the day, taking the match and the pennant 12-8, but Coote had made an impression on one of the game’s biggest stages and continued to do so throughout his long career.
Although most players are blessed to even get one chance to play in a Grand Final, Coote managed to play in a whopping nine across eleven seasons in the top grade, coming away with four Premierships with the Rabbitohs (1967-68, 1970-71) and two with the Roosters (1974-75).
Coote was also named Harry Sunderland Medal winner on two occasions (best player in an Australian team in a home Ashes series), the first in 1970 as Captain, and again in 1974 and holds the rare distinction of becoming the first player to play 100 first grade matches for two different Clubs.
In retirement, Coote has been a successful businessman, while also having started the revered Men of League Foundation.
The Rabbitohs come into this Friday night’s match at Allianz Stadium with the upper-hand, having defeated the Roosters in the first leg of the Ron Coote Cup by 34-26.
Please press play on the video player to see some of Coote's highlights.