John Sattler's death sparks outpouring of tributes around NRL world
NRL fans and commentators are paying tribute to the South Sydney Rabbitohs legend.
The rugby league world is paying tribute to John Sattler after the South Sydney Rabbitohs legend's death at age 80. Widely regarded as one of the game's greatest-ever forwards, Sattler died on Monday after a battle with dementia.
Sattler won four premierships with the Rabbitohs and also captained Australia three times. He is famously remembered for one of the toughest acts in grand final history when he played on with a badly-broken jaw in the 1970 decider against Manly.
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Sattler lifted the trophy and gave his acceptance speech before going to hospital for treatment. It was later revealed that Sattler had broken his jaw in three places.
"If anyone is to epitomise the true spirit of the South Sydney Rabbitohs it is John Sattler," Souths chairman Nicholas Pappas said on Monday afternoon. "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 teammates 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 epitomised everything that we want the Rabbitohs to be."
After being punched by rival forward John Bucknall in the fifth minute of the grand final, Sattler asked teammates to hold him up so it wasn't too obvious that he was hurt. Teammate Bob McCarthy said in 2018 of the heroic display: "He tried to say something to me, but all I saw was a basement of four teeth and you just knew that he had broken his jaw.
"He was talking too so it must have been killing, and he was getting smacked after as well. He was a tough man that Johnny Sattler."
Rugby league world pays tribute to John Sattler
Sattler's son Scott, who also won a premiership with Penrith, revealed in June 2021 that his father had been diagnosed with dementia the year before. But the news of Sattler's death still rocked the rugby league world on Monday.
Former South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett toured New Zealand with Sattler with the Australian side in 1971 and played together for Queensland in 1973. The mastercoach said on Triple M: "My condolences to his family. South Sydney supporters today will be very sad, he was quite a legend at South Sydney.
"A great player for them, a player of that era when the game started to change to give us the game we've got today. His toughness is certainly well-known and renowned for it, playing with a broken jaw. The position he played, in that era, you had to be really tough."
The South Sydney Rabbitohs are mourning the passing of Club and Rugby League legend, John Sattler, who passed away today aged 80. Rest in peace, ‘Satts’ ❤️💚
Tribute: https://t.co/LJ7eVpInDM pic.twitter.com/2LyH05VAmQ
— South Sydney Rabbitohs 🐰 (@SSFCRABBITOHS) March 20, 2023
Former South Sydney captain Bryan Fletcher labelled Sattler a "legend on and off the field", while Prime Minister Anthony Albanese - a Rabbitohs fan - and ARL Commission chair Peter V'landys also paid tribute. Albanese tweeted: "He was an inspirational leader who, decades after his retirement, took his rightful place at the front of the marches for South Sydney's reinstatement."
V'landys said: “John was a legend of the game. The tales of his toughness were quite extraordinary, but they were also at odds with his nature off the field. He was a true gentleman.
“On behalf of the Commission, I extend our condolences to his family, friends, and all who knew him.”
Very sad. An ornament to the game. Fierce competitor on the field. Tough as they come. Off the field, he was a kind and thoughtful man. Always impeccably dressed. Pride in his appearance and presentation. Always supportive of others. Great role model. RIP John Sattler. https://t.co/7OMaemDJjl
— Phil Gould (@PhilGould15) March 20, 2023
Absolutely devestated with the news of John Sattler’s passing. He was one of league’s genuine tough guys but a lovely person off the field. Just a legend. Lucky enough to play with him for @NorthsDevilsRL RIP mate. Love to Barbara Scott and Family
— Darryl Brohman OAM (@therealbigmarn) March 20, 2023
John Sattler was a legendary player who was tough on the field but a true gentleman off it.
He was an inspirational leader who, decades after his retirement, took his rightful place at the front of the marches for South Sydney’s reinstatement. pic.twitter.com/tnCBJykE6x
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) March 20, 2023
Rugby league has lost one of its greatest men. #RIP to the legendary John Sattler. My heart goes out to my dear friend @ScottSattler13 and his family. The games heart is aching today. #NRL @NRLonNine @SSFCRABBITOHS
— Mathew Thompson (@MathewJThompson) March 20, 2023
A true legend of the game. A true legend of our ground.
Rest in Peace, John Sattler. pic.twitter.com/t1L3nJCfIP
— Sydney Cricket Ground (@scg) March 20, 2023
VALE John Sattler, a true Rabbitohs and rugby league legend.
Satts led the Rabbitohs to four premierships in 1967-68 and 70-71, and famously played 77 minutes of the 1970 Grand Final against Manly-Warringah with a broken jaw.
#JohnSattler #Legend #GoRabbitohs #AccorStadium pic.twitter.com/gMZwjMJZhs
— Accor Stadium (@AccorStadium) March 20, 2023
Sad to hear of the passing of John Sattler. Always will be remembered for his Grand Final heroics when he played on with a horribly broken jaw.
But that incident only served to show how considerate he was for others. A true gentleman and genuine hero
Rest in peace mate. pic.twitter.com/GWI56FyBQ2
— Andrew Ferguson (@AndrewRLP) March 20, 2023
My heart goes out to the family and friends of JOHN SATTLER who has passed away today at the age of 80 after a long battle with dementia. R.I.P Legend. Deepest sympathies to son @ScottSattler13. pic.twitter.com/lOvDMmCAys
— Peter Lang (@PeterVLang) March 20, 2023
Sad day for rugby league with the passing of John Sattler.
The Kurri Kurri junior was as tough as they come.
Rest in Peace.@nbnnews @Kurri_Bulldogs #NRL @NRLonNine pic.twitter.com/BAAUa3M5jQ
— Adam Murray (@Adam_Murray97) March 20, 2023
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