On the cusp of delivering South Sydney their first major trophy in more than 40 years, Rabbitohs captain John Sutton hasn't forgotten the dark times when wooden spoons were the norm.

Souths will battle it out with arch-rivals Sydney Roosters for the minor premiership on Friday night - an honour the Rabbitohs have not earned since 1989 - when Sutton was just four.

There was no prize to show for the minor premiership back then, with the JJ Giltinan Shield only awarded to the regular season champion from 1997.

Prior to that the massive shield was handed over to the premiers - an image only the oldest of Souths fans can recall with any fondness.

Through good times and bad, the Rabbitohs have been judged on the run of outs since 1971 - Sutton desperate for the current crop to leave their mark.

"We're just trying to create our own little history here by just wining games," Sutton said.

"It's great to be a part of the club at the moment."

Great times indeed, with the Rabbitohs set to compete in back to back finals series for the first time since 1986-87.

But things didn't always look this good for the Rabbitohs, or Sutton.

The club collected the wooden spoon in two of his first three seasons.

He played one finals game in his first eight seasons with the club.

By contrast, halves partner Adam Reynolds has known nothing but success since bursting onto the scene last year, having won 35 of the 50 top grade games he has played.

It took Sutton 105 games - almost six seasons - to win his 35th game.

"To be captain and winning games - when I first started there were a couple of wooden spoons here and there, it wasn't the best of years," Sutton recalled.

"But since Madge (coach Michael Maguire) has come along, he's changed the culture around and it's just great to be a part of this.

"I'm just looking forward to the next few weeks of footy - it's going to be exciting."

Asked if he had to remind some of his newer teammates about just how far the club has come, Sutton said:

"Most of the boys who've been around footy a long time sort of know where the club's been and how it used to be.

"Since Madge has come along it's pretty much done a full 180."

Even Reynolds, who wasn't even born the last time the Rabbitohs were minor premiers, is aware of the journey the club has been on.

"The club wasn't going too well at a stage there," Reynolds said.

"The fans stuck loyal, it's just good to reward them these days."

And the players too, but Sutton isn't getting caught up in the hype.

He knows the JJ Giltinan Shield would be nice, but it is the newly renamed Provan-Summons premiership trophy the club really wants.

"It is a big game, we're not going to deny that," Sutton said of Friday night's ANZ Stadium blockbuster.

"But like we've been doing all year, we just have to concentrate on what we have to do here at Souths.

"Our preparation has to be spot on this week - the Roosters have had a couple of losses lately, I'm sure they're going to be coming out fired up."

 

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