It was an intense match filled with emotion that led to the South Sydney Rabbitohs' second win of 2023, and there were plenty of talking points from what was an unforgettable night for the Club.

Celebrating a Champion

It was a shock to everyone who bleeds Red and Green hearing the news earlier in the week of the passing of Club legend John Sattler.

Having played 195 matches in the Cardinal and Myrtle, captaining the side to five Grand Finals and four Premierships, John Sattler is no doubt one of the greatest to have ever donned the Club's famous colours.

The esteem he is held in was evident throughout the week, with the Club and supporter base going to great lengths to properly honour the man who led ferociously on the field and generously off of it.

Wearing a commemorative jersey featuring the famous 'torn rabbit' logo from Sattler's 1970 Grand Final heroics, the Club organised to have the Sattler family join in a guard of honour before a minute's silence was held.

The Burrow led an applause for Gentleman John in the 13th minute that saw the Accor Stadium crowd in raptures to celebrate their fallen hero, while on the field, the two sides gave their own salute in an intense and entertaining match.

The occasion also emanated throughout the entire Club, with all 8 grades claiming a victory from NRL to the Harold Matthews Under 17s in a fitting celebration for one of the Rabbitohs' finest.

Ben's a Rabbitoh and We Lovett

It was a special milestone for a young Rabbitoh as forward Ben Lovett celebrated his debut in the first-grade arena, coming onto the field late in the contest with the match in the balance.

The Parkes Spacemen junior became Rabbitoh #1189 following his meteoric rise through the Club's Elite Pathways system over the last number of years and did the Club proud in a solid first outing.
He's a Rabbitoh: Friends and family flocked from Parkes, NSW to see Ben Lovett become the Club's newest NRL player.

Coming onto the field with just under a quarter of the match to go, Lovett handled the occasion with aplomb, making 15 imperative tackles in a period where the Rabbitohs were starved of possession.

The headgear-clad second rower was enveloped by friends and family in the crowd following the victory, and no doubt the experience will bode well for him as he looks to add to his tally throughout the coming years.

Gentleman John's No.13 Omen

After making the jersey famous throughout his career, John Sattler's number 13 proved to be a good omen for the Rabbitohs throughout the night.

In the 13th minute, the crowd erupted in applause in honour of the Club's courageous Captain, and soon after it was Cody Walker slicing through to score the first try of the match.

That was before the mercurial five-eighth touched down for his second try early in the second half to bring the side back in the contest, which just so happened to culminate in his 13th career double.

Finally, with the two teams unable to be separated as they entered Golden Point, it was the boot of Lachlan Ilias that brought the Rabbitohs a well-deserved victory - bringing the scoreline to 13-12.

Fittingly, the man who led the Rabbitohs onto the field was Captain Cameron Murray who - you guessed it - donned the no.13 jersey, just like Sattler did.

Effort on Effort on Effort

If there is one thing that John Sattler embodied, it was determination and effort in the Cardinal and Myrtle jersey - and the 17 men that took the field did the Club legend proud with their efforts throughout the match.

First, it was Cody Walker's never-say-die attitude on chasing a Damien Cook grubber kick 20 metres out, and it was his drive that saw him touch down with just inches between the ball and the line to score the first of the match.

With just over five minutes remaining in the first half and with the scores level at 6-all, the Sea Eagles looked to have scored again as Tolutau Koula found himself over the line - but that was before Isaiah Tass intervened to lodge the ball free in an almighty effort.

Then it was Damien Cook, who pushed past 80 minutes of fatigue to charge down a field goal attempt from Daly Cherry-Evans 40 metres from the line, ensuring that the match would go into Golden Point.

That's not to mention the defensive resolve the side showed throughout the contest, keeping Manly to just twelve points (with none conceded in the second half) in what will be a pleasing result for Members and the football staff alike.
Lachlan Ilias nails the field goal in golden point

Ilias Comes Up Clutch

In just his 31st match in the NRL, Lachlan Ilias showed plenty of poise to come up with the match-winning field goal in Golden Point.

After a strong first month of the 2023 season that saw him dominate in the opening match before providing a number of highlights in the following two weeks, Ilias had a coming-of-age moment on Saturday night.

With his halves partner Cody Walker starring with a double in regulation time, all eyes were on talisman Latrell Mitchell to kick the winning goal and seal the victory much like he has done on multiple occasions in his glittering career.

But when a wayward pass saw the fullback send the ball wide in his first opportunity in Golden Point, the ball landed in the hands of Ilias, who composed himself to strike the Steeden through the points and seal the victory in emphatic circumstances.

No doubt the moment will bring the 22-year-old plenty of confidence heading into his second year in first grade, with many more match-winning plays set to come from the Rabbitohs no.7.

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