John Sutton will enter South Sydney folklore when he leads his side onto the SCG on Saturday, but the Rabbitohs captain insists his focus will be on ending a worrying three-game losing streak.
The 29-year-old, who made his first grade debut in 2004, will become Souths’ most capped player when he takes to the famous ground where so many of the NRL club’s greatest victories happened in the round five match against St George Illawarra.
His 212th appearance will supersede club legend Bob McCarthy’s long-standing record.
Best remembered by the Rabbitohs faithful for his intercept try in the club’s 1967 grand final triumph over Canterbury, McCarthy and Sutton speak regularly and the barrel-chested former Kangaroo is expected to be at the SCG for the milestone.
Souths coach Michael Maguire has shelved his early season halves experiment for the Dragons clash and reunited Sutton with halfback Adam Reynolds in a combination that proved so successful over the past two seasons.
Dylan Walker moves from five-eighth to centre to accommodate Sutton’s return.
Sutton said he was proud to be the new owner of such a prestigious record but is intent on getting Souths back to form.
“It’s a great achievement for myself, but we haven’t been playing good footy at the moment and I just want to get that win out there,” Sutton said.
“It is a great thrill going past Bobby, a legend of the club and of the game – it will be a big moment for myself.
“It is going to be great for me to run out as captain for my 212th game for most caps but in saying all that we haven’t had the greatest start to the season so all I want is a win and the two points.
“We know we are a better side than we have been showing and we have the confidence and belief that we can turn it around, starting on Saturday.”
The Rabbitohs were the NRL’s most impressive side in round one as they put premiers the Sydney Roosters to the sword, but since then they have struggled in losses to Manly, Wests Tigers and Canberra.