As Australia pauses to reflect on the sacrifices made by countless men and women in the service of their country, the Rabbitohs also reflect on those who have done likewise, who have also worn the Red and Green.

Read the stories of just some of those Rabbitohs.

John ‘Johnno’ Stuntz

Rugby League Pioneer, fireman, and solider, Private John ‘Johnno’ Stuntz was no stranger to conflict, in fact his life was punctuated by it. It was that fervour that brought him to Rugby League, that saw him risk his life as a first class fireman, and saw him lose his life in a trench in WWI.

John “Johnno” Stuntz was born on the 27th of June 1885 in Marrickville, and spent his early years carving a reputation as a Rugby Union player. However he was destined to be one of the first to follow the great Dally Messenger from the established Rugby Union to the breakaway professional ‘Northern Union’ Rugby League code in 1907.

Click here to read more.

 

Steve ‘Tracker’ Darmody

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Steve ‘Tracker’ Darmody made his top-grade debut during the 1908 season. What isn’t disputed though is that he was an inclusion in the 1911 Kangaroos side following the withdrawal of the great Dally Messenger.

A champion hurdler in his youth, the young Darmody became a South Sydney utility who played in the forwards but also often found himself in the backs. His career at Souths spanned three seasons between 1910 and 1912, during which time he appeared on 20 occasions, scoring six tries and 22 goals before moving to the UK to play with Hull – a club that was welcoming fellow Souths players Herb Gilbert at the time.

Upon the outbreak of war, Darmody enlisted with the British Army in the Motor Transport Division. It was during this time while serving in Flanders, ‘Tracker’ lost a foot in an accident.

The loss of a limb though proved to be a small obstacle for Darmody, who had an artificial limb fitted before re-enlisting, this time in the RAF. In 1921, when the airship R38 Humber split in two and fell onto the city, Darmody, artificial leg attached, searched through the rubble for survivors and was called to give evidence at the coronial inquest. Darmody survived the war, dying in Scotland in 1968.

 

Jack Rayner

One of those fortunate to return from WWII would go on to etch his name into rugby league and South Sydney history – as much for his ability on the field, as for his reputation for being a true gentleman and statesmen of the game off it.

Big Jack Rayner – originally from Lismore – saw battle on three fronts during his life; in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, the streets of Sydney as a detective, and on rugby league pitches as one of the game’s greats. In all three spheres, those touched by his qualities of toughness, loyalty and leadership were better for it. But without his involvement in the war, Rayner’s distinguished career may never have been realised.

Click here to read more.

 

Arthur Edward ‘Mick’ Mather DFC AFC AE

The skies of Tobruk and the khaki of war are a far cry from the Red and Green of Redfern Oval, but for former South Sydney forward, Flying Officer Arthur Edward ‘Mick’ Mather DFC AFC AE, it was the world he came to know during WWII, as well as being the scene of great acts of bravery in the skies that earned him a Distinguished Flying Cross Medal.

As Australians pause today to reflect on the selfless contributions of all those who have served their country, we remember another Rabbitohs forward who not only proudly wore the red and green – albeit briefly –  but also devoted his professional life to the ongoing security of his country in an RAAF career that spanned over 30 years.

Click here to read more.