How did John Sattler die? Rugby league icon cause of death Explained

The death of famous South Sydney forward John Sattler has left the rugby league community in profound sadness. Sattler, one of the toughest players in NRL history, captained the Souths to four championships between 1967 and 1971. Let’s see How did Rugby league icon John Sattler die and John Sattler cause of death in detail.


How did John Sattler die?

On March 20, 2023, South Sydney legend John Sattler passed away at age 80. When the Rabbitohs defeated Manly in 1970 grand final, Sattler famously competed despite having a fractured jaw.

After John Sattler passed away, South Sydney praised him as one of their best players and an epitome of the club’s proud history.

The chairman of the Rabbitohs, Nicholas Pappas AM, paid tribute to John Sattler, one of the best players the club has ever seen and a great gentleman.

“If anyone is to epitomize the true spirit of the South Sydney Rabbitohs it is John Sattler,

“He was loved by everyone connected with the Rabbitohs, whether it be one of his former team mates who he led to Premiership glory, or the man in the street who loved South Sydney just as much as he did.

“He was tough and brave but fair, uncompromising on the field and empathetic off it, and he truly epitomized everything that we want the Rabbitohs to be.

“His favourite saying was ‘I play to win – everyone knows that.’ There is nothing more ‘South Sydney Rabbitohs’ than that.

“He always held the Rabbitohs dear to his heart and everyone here at the Rabbitohs always held ‘Satts’ dear to ours.

“Our deepest and most sincere condolences go out to his son Scott and the entire Sattler family, his former team mates, and all of his friends that he has touched over the years.

“Rest in peace, ‘Satts’.”


At their match against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles on Saturday at Accor Stadium, the Rabbitohs will pay tribute to Mr. Sattler.


John Sattler cause of death

We regret having to let you know that John Sattler has passed away. Many thought John Sattler had a friendly personality. Given the recent news, many people must be interested to learn the John Sattler cause of death.

The 1970 Grand Final was the cruelest moment the hard-nosed front-rower John Sattler endured while putting his life on the line for his team. John Bucknall of Manly delivered a punch to Sattler in the first 10 minutes that broke his jaw in three places. Sattler led his teammates to victory while concealing their horrific injuries from them as he played out the game. Yet, as we have regrettably seen in recent years, players from those generations have been left with serious health issues.

In recent years, Sattler’s health significantly declined as he fought dementia shortly after having a stroke. However, it has cost athletes because awareness of concussions and their damaging effects was not as widespread back then as it is today.

His son Scott Sattler and John Sattler. (

His son Scott discussed his father’s rapidly deteriorating health and claimed that the South’s hard nut was suffering as a result of participating in rugby league at its most brutal era.

Scott said to The Daily Telegraph in 2021,

“Dad was diagnosed officially last year with dementia,” 

“I’ve always suspected for a lot longer that he was suffering from memory loss.

“I have no doubt the punishment dad copped during his career has played a role in his health today. He suffered a stroke a few years ago and that is also a factor.

“It’s sad to see, what I’d give to be able to sit and talk rugby league like we used to for hours.

“I’ll never get that again, this is the effect of rugby league.”

John Sattler, a legendary forward who was diagnosed with dementia three years ago, passed away on March 20. John Sattler cause of death has left the community inconsolable.


Who was John Sattler?

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, John Sattler was a professional and national team rugby league football player. When John Sattler was 12 years old, his family relocated to Kurri Kurri from Telarah, New South Wales, where he was born in 1942. Peter Sattler, his paternal grandpa, was a German immigrant who came to Maitland, New South Wales, in the late 1890s at the age of 6. Sattler played rugby league for Kurri Kurri when he was a late 16-year-old and represented Newcastle against the visiting British team in 1962. He attended Marist Brothers High School in Maitland, New South Wales. He relocated to Sydney the following year and signed on with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.


He was named Souths’ captain in 1967, and in the following four seasons—1967, 1968, 1970, and 1971—he led Souths to four premiership victories. In 1969, he also drove his group to the Grand Final, when they fell to Balmain. Although he could play lock forward, it was as a prop forward that he excelled and won championships and national honors. After playing 195 games and winning four premierships with South Sydney, John Sattler signed with Brisbane Western Suburbs in 1973.

1970 Grand final

Sattler played through a broken jaw in 1970 grand final to assist Souths to defeat Manly. On September 19, 1970, at the Sydney Cricket Ground, South Sydney faced the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the title game. Souths were driven to succeed after falling to the Balmain Tigers in the previous Grand Final. Ten minutes into the match, Sattler lost consciousness after being struck by Manly forward John Bucknall.

His jaw was broken in two places, but he begged teammate Mike Cleary to hold him up so that no one would notice his injuries. He received assistance getting up and kept playing the game. When his teammates discovered his injuries, Souths had a 12-6 lead at the half.

After his courageous performance in the 1970 championship game, John Sattler enjoys a glass of champagne in the shower. (JOHN O’GREADY)

He insisted on continuing to play throughout the break and rejected medical attention. The next guy who tries to cut me out of the action is in trouble, he added to the side, to deter his teammates from trying to shield him from harm. South Sydney won the match 23-12 after scoring three tries to none. He later went to the hospital to obtain treatment but only after receiving the Giltinan Shield and making an acceptance speech.


He was not chosen as captain for the Australian touring team announced later that night for the World Cup in England because of an injury he sustained during the 1970 Grand Final. Nonetheless, he had previously been chosen for Australia’s 1967 tour of Britain and France as well as the 1969 and 1971 Australian teams that travelled to New Zealand, where he was chosen as captain.

He was only able to participate in four tests for Australia, although he captained his team in three of those contests. Before quitting the game of professional rugby league the next year, he led the Queensland state team in a match against New South Wales in 1973.

John Sattler participated in one of the unsuccessful attempts to establish a Brisbane-based squad for the New South Wales Rugby League premiership in the middle of the 1980s. The NRL and ARL commissioned a list of Australia’s 100 Greatest Players (1908-2007) in February 2008 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the game in Australia. Sattler was included on that list. He was selected as the captain of the Kurri Rugby League Club’s century team in 2010.


Tributes to John Sattler 

Many people expressed their profound sympathies to his family and expressed how much they loved him. The news of this occurrence has upset his supporters and fans.

Prime Minister of Australia Anthony Albanese wrote,

“John Sattler was a legendary player who was tough on the field but a true gentleman off it.

He was an inspirational leader who, decades after his retirement, took his rightful place at the front of the marches for South Sydney’s reinstatement. Satts was loved by all who follow the South Sydney Rabbitohs and respected by all who met him or had the privilege of watching him play. May he rest in peace.”

NRL heavyweight Phil Gould wrote,

“Very sad. An ornament to the game. Fierce competitor on the field. Tough as they come. Off the field, he was a kind and thoughtful man. Always impeccably dressed. Pride in his appearance and presentation. Always supportive of others. Great role model. RIP John Sattler.”

Former NRL player Darryl Brohman wrote,

“Absolutely devstated with the news of John Sattler’s passing. He was one of league’s genuine tough guys but a lovely person off the field. Just a legend. Lucky enough to play with him for @NorthsDevilsRL RIP mate. Love to Barbara Scott and Family.”

Losing a loved one is one of the most terrible experiences anybody can have in life. There must be a final destination for every voyage. Unfortunately, the person’s time on earth has ended with their death. We wish him eternal peace and send our thoughts and prayers to his loved ones, family, friends. May he rest in peace.

Kindly use the comment box below to honor the death of John Sattler by leaving a tribute.


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