Coach can start Souths dynasty, says Sattler

RUGBY LEAGUE: On the 43rd anniversary of his immortalised grand final heroics, South Sydney legend John Sattler has declared Michael Maguire the man to lead the famous red and green to a drought-breaking premiership and a dynasty similar to the glory days under Clive Churchill.

Sattler, who toughed out 77 minutes of Souths 23-12 grand final victory over Manly in 1970, will be a special guest as the two heavyweight clubs collide at the SCG on Friday night in what many believe will be a prelude to October's NRL grand final.

The cover of John Sattler’s new book.
The cover of John Sattler’s new book. GETTY IMAGES

Sattler needed 300 stitches in his head after being flung through the windscreen of the car he was driving. The last captain to lead South Sydney to grand final glory in 1971, Sattler believes Maguire has the genius to revisit the club's golden era when the Rabbitohs won premierships in 1967, 68, 70 and 71 under Churchill.

"In Maguire, South Sydney has a coach capable of taking the club to the Holy Grail," Sattler, who played 197 games for Souths, said.

"I've never been more convinced South Sydney are on the right track to enter a new era of dominance.

"In the past two seasons, they have finished a game shy of the grand final which is testament largely to Maguire, whom I rate as one of the great coaches of the modern era.

"Watching him from close range, Michael has strands of Clive's style. He has a lovely common touch, mixed with a fine understanding of tactics and team culture, and the ability to be tough when necessary."

Manly and Souths posted stylish wins on the weekend ahead of Friday night's showdown, Manly putting Brisbane's final hopes on a knife edge and Souths putting more than 50 points on Newcastle in a muscle-flexing exercise in Cairns.

Sattler's courage to play on in the 1970 grand final after his jaw was smashed in two places in the opening minutes by Manly forward John Bucknall is part of rugby league folklore.

It's well documented that a sick and groggy Sattler said to teammate Mike Cleary: "hold me up so they don't know I'm hurt", before refusing to leave the battle.

After keeping his life private for so long, Sattler, who turned 72 last month, has opened up in his book will be launched with a gala affair at the SCG, the scene of his four premiership wins, on Tuesday, August 26.

The book can be purchased here.


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