Kurri Kurri great John Sattler remembered for always leading from the front

Tributes have been flowing in from across the country for rugby league legend John Sattler who died aged 80 after a years long battle with dementia.

He was born in Telarah in Maitland and played rugby league for Kurri Kurri and represented Newcastle, before heading to Sydney, where he most famously played with the Rabbitohs.

Sattler is etched into rugby league history after he played 77 minutes of the 1970 grand final against Manly with a broken jaw, leading the team to victory.

His jaw was broken in three places after being punched by rival forward John Bucknall in the fifth minute and Sattler’s response was to ask teammates to hold him up so it wasn’t obvious he was hurt.

Rabbitohs Chairman, Nicholas Pappas AM said Sattler epitomised the true spirit of the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

“He bled red and green. He would do anything for his team mates. He never took a backwards step. He always led from the front.

“He was loved by everyone connected with the Rabbitohs, whether it be one of his former team mates who he led to Premiership glory, or the man in the street who loved South Sydney just as much as he did.

“He was tough and brave but fair, uncompromising on the field and empathetic off it, and he truly epitomized everything that we want the Rabbitohs to be.

“His favourite saying was ‘I play to win – everyone knows that.’ There is nothing more ‘South Sydney Rabbitohs’ than that.

“He always held the Rabbitohs dear to his heart and everyone here at the Rabbitohs always held ‘Satts’ dear to ours.

“Our deepest and most sincere condolences go out to his son Scott and the entire Sattler family, his former team mates, and all of his friends that he has touched over the years.

“Rest in peace, ‘Satts’.”

The Rabbitohs will pay tribute to Mr Sattler at this Saturday’s game against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Accor Stadium.

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