Game 212

The South Sydney Rabbitohs and the St George Illawarra Dragons are the most decorated clubs in all of Rugby League.

Years of success fuel this fiery chapter, where pride and honour is on the line.

In Round 5 of the 2014 season, this back-and-forth narrative continued but in John Sutton’s historic 212th game, there was only one-way the pendulum was going to swing.

On Saturday 5 April 2014 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Rabbitohs veteran became the most capped Red and Green soldier to date, overtaking Souths legend, Bob McCarthy.

In a match up that required every ounce of experience to get them over the line, the Rabbitohs, steered by their record-breaking leader, produced a clinical and mature display in a comfortable 26-6 victory over the Dragons.

Having lost three straight before the Men of League Heritage Round, the Rabbitohs showed no signs of low confidence.

Using the special occasion as extra motivation, the Rabbitohs barged their way through the Dragons pack with sheer determination, mirroring the heart and soul of their then Club Captain, who had given everything to the Cardinal and Myrtle jersey.

The desire shown by his teammates couldn’t have pleased the 212th game veteran more, as the Rabbitohs proved too much to handle for the Red V.    

"It was a great performance by the boys I thought, especially our forwards - they really went forward up the middle. It was a great win,” said Sutton post match. 

While the Dragons tested the South Sydney line on a couple of occasions, they always looked second best to a side which halfback Adam Reynolds said were honouring a teammate and best friend. 

“I think it’s an awesome achievement for him,” Reynolds told Club media.

“He wears his heart on his sleeve every week, so for him to break that record, it’s pretty special and it’s an honour playing alongside him."

The Red and Green were in full control in the backend of the encounter, leading 20-0 in the 67th minute, thanks to tries from Luke Burgess, Jason Clark and Sam Burgess, and the ever-reliable boot of Reynolds. 

However, Sutton wouldn’t miss out on the action, marking his day with a memorable try assist.

Receiving the ball from hooker, Apisai Koroisau, Sutton used all his knowledge and experience to put fullback Greg Inglis through to score with a beautiful inside pass that caught the Dragons’ defence flat on their feet.

It was the icing, that the Rabbitohs complete performance needed and for fullback Inglis, it epitomised the tenacity and never say die attitude of his Captain, which rubbed off on everyone at the Club. 

“We’ve become really good, close mates over the years,” Inglis explained to Club media.

“Every single week I can see the way he presents himself and puts his time and effort into the Club, he’s one of those people who lives and dies South Sydney.”

The Dragons would score a late consolation try but it was South Sydney’s evening.

The inspirational team performance, led by their Club custodian sparked their 2014 Premiership campaign into life on a magical night of Rugby League.