Footy mourns gaming giant John Sattler as the South Sydney icon dies aged 80, after becoming a legend for playing a grand final with a broken jaw.
- Sattler won four premierships with Souths
- Famous for his heroics in the 1970s grand finale
- Son Scott reveals his father’s battle with dementia
The death of iconic Rabbitohs star John Sattler has rugby league fans in mourning after the legendary tough man died aged 80 on Monday.
A tough-as-nails prop, Sattler racked up 197 games and four premierships for South Sydney from 1963 to 1972 and will forever be known for his incredible heroism in the 1970 decider against Manly.
The enforcer from the town of Kurri, New South Wales, helped lead the Bunnies to a famous victory despite having his jaw severely broken by a punch from Sea Eagles forward John Bucknall roughly 10 minutes after the kick off. game.
Sattler managed to hide the injury from the opposition and most of his teammates until halftime, when he refused to be treated and warned his fellow Rabbits to keep passing the ball to him even though he was in agony.
Sattler (second from right, pictured at football legend Tommy Raudonikis’ funeral in April 2021) will go down as one of the toughest men to ever take the field in rugby league.
Known as ‘Satts’, he recalled the toll the disgusting coup inflicted on him in 2014.
‘I have never felt pain like this in my life. He makes me powerless. Whatever just happened, my knees can’t take it. They fasten. Instinct takes over. I think I feel blood coming out of my mouth,’ he wrote for the daily telegraph.
Sattler explained that his jaw was broken in three places and he had to ask teammate Mike Cleary to hold him up so the opposition wouldn’t know what trouble he was in for, leaving the winger horrified when he realized the extent of the injury.
At one point, his jaw collapsed as he gasped for air shortly before Manly’s Fred Jones punched him in the face as Bucknall brought him down.
Souths ran out to 23-12 winners and bounced back for another title the next year, with Sattler captaining the team to their last major final victory until they took the club’s 21st premiership in 2014.
In 2021, Sattler’s son Scott, who came up with a magical moment of his own in Penrith’s grand final win in 2003, revealed that his father was suffering from dementia having suffered a stroke years earlier.
“I get very emotional, I have never seen my father beaten in anything in his life,” he said.
“But I watch and listen to it deteriorate every week, every month, dementia just hits it, it just breaks it.”
The Souths stalwart played four games each for NSW and Queensland, as well as four tests for the Kangaroos during his incredible career, captaining his country on three occasions.
More to come…