The future of South Sydney’s favourite son John Sutton is in doubt, with the 309-game premiership-winning skipper a notable absentee from the Rabbitohs’ initial 2019 squad.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs have released their 2019 squad this week with former captain John Sutton and 2018 top try scorer Robert Jennings both absent from the list.
John Sutton looks unlikely to sign a new contract despite declaring he wishes to play on whilst Jennings contract is probably very close to being official.
Sutton has been vocal about his desire to play on in 2019, and it was understood the club was trying to free up enough space in their cap for next season to extend his stay at Redfern for a 16th season, but the signing of Wayne Bennett. which may actually happen this season could see a number of Broncos players follow him from the Broncos to the Rabbitohs.
South Sydney can add two more players to their squad but it’s now looking highly unlikely that they will be able to table a respectable offer to the back-rower.
Having lost Angus Crichton to the Roosters, it seemed Sutton’s signature would be a priority for Souths, who are now lacking significant depth in the back-row.
Earlier this month, Sutton’s manager Steve Gillis was confident the two parties were close to agreeing to an extension, but admitted they were in a holding pattern with pre-season fast approaching.
There are also rumours swirling that the club is looking to sign former rep star Trent Merrin, which would signal the end of Sutton’s time with his beloved Bunnies.
It is sure to cause some consternation within the club’s fan base, with Sutton considered a hero for sticking with Souths through their lean years, before leading them to their drought-breaking premiership in 2014.