John Sattler dead: rugby league, South Sydney legend dies aged 80


One of rugby league’s toughest ever players, John Sattler, 80, has died, with the South Sydney legend leaving one of the most indelible legacies on the game.

The rugby league world is in mourning following the death of legendary South Sydney forward John Sattler.

Sattler was 80.

Revered for playing with a broken jaw in South Sydney’s 1970 grand final victory against Manly, Sattler had been battling dementia in recent years as his health deteriorated.

“It’s a very sad day,” said former teammate and friend, Bobby McCarthy.

“All front-rowers were tough in those days — but ‘Satts’ was that and more.

“He played the grand final with a broken jaw. He once stayed on the field with a dislocated elbow. Nothing could stop him on a rugby league field.”

Kurri Kurri-born Sattler played 197 games for Souths between 1963 and 1972 along with four Tests for Australia.

He captained Souths to four premierships between 1967 and 1971.

Sattler will always be remembered for completing the 1970 grand final against Manly at the SCG with a broken jaw.

Infamously, he was punched early in the match by Sea Eagles forward John Bucknall.

Displaying unbelievable courage, Sattler played on to inspire Souths to victory.

In June 2021, his son, Scott Sattler, revealed the Rabbitohs great was battling dementia. He had also suffered a stroke a few years earlier.

“I’ve never seen my father beaten in anything in life, but I watch him and hear him deteriorating every week, every month, dementia just beats him, it just breaks him,” Scott said at the time.

In one of his final interviews in 2021, Sattler told The Daily Telegraph about his infamous jaw break.

More to come…

Originally published as Rugby league, South Sydney legend John Sattler dies aged 80

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