Lachlan Ilias put the finishing touches on a stirring night of tributes to John Sattler.
Lurking behind the 20-metre line after 81 minutes of pulsating action between the Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles on Saturday night, the young halfback welcomed a Damien Cook missile and drilled a field goal.
On a game day dedicated to Sattler following the South Sydney legend’s death at the age of 80 on Monday, Ilias delivered the Rabbitohs a 13-12 golden point triumph at Stadium Australia.
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Megastar teammate Latrell Mitchell had failed to nail a field goal attempt in the final minute of regular time, as had Manly maestro Daly Cherry-Evans, but Ilias pinged the ball over the black dot to spark glorious celebrations.
A swarm of the famous “torn rabbit” jerseys with a white collar, and cardinal red and myrtle green hoops, swamped Ilias in an instantly iconic moment in Rabbitohs history.
The Rabbitohs looked resplendent in the vintage jersey, which Sattler had worn during the 1970 grand final synonymous with him playing 77 minutes with a broken jaw. That game saw Sattler captain South Sydney to his third of four titles as Rabbitohs skipper.
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A minute’s silence was observed before kick-off on Saturday night, as a visibly emotional Scott Sattler, John’s son, joined a circle of Rabbitohs players in a beautiful moment.
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The night of tributes rolled on when the Rabbitohs’ official supporter group, “The Burrow”, led a round of applause in the 13th minute, acknowledging the jersey number worn by Sattler in his four premiership victories as South Sydney captain.
“I was just saying to (captain) Cam (Murray) out on the field, looking up at the scoreboard at 13 points … obviously John’s number … To have his family here today is pretty special,” said South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou.
“Got to know ‘Satts’ a fair bit over the last few years. Great family. So for us to be able to pay tribute (was great).
“I want to pay respect to our whole club: (chief executive) Blake (Solly), the commercial team, the media team. The tribute, the whole week has been fantastic.
“We didn’t talk about it a great deal as a team because we could see it. It was there, it was evident throughout the club.
“I just felt at times tonight we didn’t deserve to lose that game, and I’m really thankful we got the two points.”
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