Farewell to Gentleman John after 80 good years, four-time premiership captain of South Sydney (1967-68, 1970-71), the hardest of hard men in an era of rugby league where the game was borderline lawless, as evidenced by Satts racking up some 15 send-offs and 30 games worth of suspensions, and among those four premierships he captained, Satts was responsible for one of the most courageous performances in modern history, when he played almost the entire 1970 Grand Final with a shattered jaw thanks to a brutal cheap shot by Manly forward John Bucknall only 3 minutes into the game.
In a twist of fate, Bucknall was replaced in the 35th minute due to a shoulder injury, while Sattler played out the game and was chaired off after captaining Souths to a 23-12 win.
And that chairing off would become one of the most iconic images in the history of Australian rugby league:
Perhaps by some sheer coincidence, Souths are playing Manly this weekend, so maybe we’ll see a tribute to Satts in the 3rd minute with someone getting belted off the ball.
And, if you’ve never heard this song, Satts’ act of bravery crossed with madness led to a rugby league song by Perry Keyes in 2007, appropriately titled The Day John Sattler Broke His Jaw, which was covered last year by The Whitlams:
If it’s high enough, if it’s long enough, if it’s straight between the posts, drink your beer but shed no tears for these days you miss the most
Every step and sill sat shining in black enamel from door to door, and the tears rolled down like Resch’s..
The day John Sattler broke his jaw.
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