Rabbitohs.com.au walks you through our pantheon of Club legends in our Hall of Fame series. Today, we bring you the Prince of Locks, Ron Coote.
A product of Kensington United, Ron Coote is revered as a local legend having played for, captained and won Premierships with both the Rabbitohs and Roosters between 1964 and 1978. The Souths Junior was also an accomplished representative player, having represented NSW (15 caps) Australia (23, including World Cup matches) in addition to holding the honour of 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.
While most players would feel blessed to even get one chance to play in a Grand Final, Coote managed to play in a whopping nine across 11 seasons in the top grade, coming away with four Premierships with the Rabbitohs (1967, 1968, 1970, 1971) and two with the Roosters (1974, 1975).
Coote was also named Harry Sunderland Medal winner on two occasions – an award given to the 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.
Name: Ron Coote
Date of Birth: 25 October 1944
Position: lock/second row
Junior Club: Kensington United Dragons
Also played for: Eastern Suburbs
Premierships: 6 (4 with the Rabbitohs & 2 with the Roosters)
Representative Games: Australia (23 Games); NSW (14 games); NSW City Firsts (4 games)