Can Sutton’s milestone help Souths find mojo?
THE record John Sutton will break against St George-Illawarra at the famous SCG today belonged to Rabbitohs legend Bob McCarthy, a forward who changed the way rugby league was played during the 60s and 70s.
Like Sutton, who is set to pass the club record of 211 games, McCarthy was a Souths junior, adored by Rabbitohs fans during a golden era for the Redfern club.
His coach back then, Immortal Clive Churchill, transformed the powerful McCarthy into a wide-running second-rower, well before the term "edge" forward was invented.
His size and strength, combined with his electrifying speed for a big man, led to him scoring 100-career tries, none better than his intercept length-of-the-field effort that clinched Souths the 1967 grand final over Canterbury.
Sutton may not have McCarthy's representative record of 15 Tests for Australia and 11 games for New South Wales, or the premiership success he enjoyed, but there's no doubt he has given the club the same commitment every week as the former record holder.
Coach Michael McGuire is searching for answers to his team's hat-trick of losses since opening the season with an upset win over premiers, the Sydney Roosters.
And Sutton's milestone may be just the motivation needed to make sure his players have their mojo on today.
Highly-decorated teammate Greg Inglis said no one was more deserving of the record than Sutton.
"He is a South Sydney junior who lives and dies for this club," Inglis said.
"He's a terrific player, we've become close mates over the years, you can see the time and effort he puts in every day he turns up."
Long-serving winger Nathan Merritt, who has played more than 200 game for the famous red and greens, said he regarded it as an honour to play alongside Sutton in his record breaking game.
"It couldn't happen to a better person," Merritt said.
And English international Sam Burgess also said Sutton was South Sydney "through and through"
"It's nice to see him get the record and I am sure he will hold it for a while," Burgess said.
The Dragons will look to returning fullback Josh Dugan to play a big part in spoiling Sutton's special day.