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South Sydney and Wests Tigers clash over milestone games for John Sutton and Robbie Farah
Dean Ritchie, The Daily Telegraph
RUSSELL Crowe will have a new chapter to pen for South Sydney’s Book of Feuds after a dispute over milestones erupted with the Wests Tigers this week.
John Sutton is due to celebrate 300 first-grade games for the Rabbitohs, while returning Tiger Robbie Farah will play his 250th match for the club when the teams face off on Saturday.
But the Rabbitohs were left seething when the Tigers initially rebuffed a plan to change the 30m markings on the field to 300s to commemorate Sutton’s achievement.
The NRL has stepped in and demanded the 300 signage appear on the field.
A fresh-faced Sutton back in 2006. (Craig Wilson)
While both sides use ANZ Stadium, Saturday is a Tigers home game and they felt honouring Sutton would overshadow the achievement of club legend Farah.
The NRL emailed Souths and Wests Tigers this week to say it was supportive of the 300 field markings.
The Daily Telegraph understands South Sydney co-owner Crowe was so irritated by the Tigers’ stance that he blocked the club’s official account on his personal Twitter feed.
Crowe commissioned The Book Of Feuds to chronicle his club’s rivalries and motivate his players.
It is understood Crowe will be one of the expected 25,000 people at Saturday’s game.
Souths hope their fans will help exact revenge by outnumbering Tigers supporters.
Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe said the 300 signs would appear for Sutton but expressed his frustration at the NRL.
“It’s our home ground, we just wanted to ask the question of why weren’t we consulted about what they wanted to do,” Pascoe said.
“We want Sutto and Robbie to be respectfully and equally celebrated. We just didn’t know about (the 300 plans).
“We were sitting there saying we would do this for Robbie and do that for Robbie and then we hear the NRL wanted to do all this stuff without telling us.
“All we have asked is ‘how about working in collaboration with this?’
“We have no problem with putting 300 on the ground but let’s be respectful to both of them. We just wanted to make sure, given it’s our home game, that we at least have some knowledge of what the NRL is planning.”
The NRL is the ground hirer and has the power to overrule any club decisions.
Pascoe said he couldn’t place a 250 on the ground for Farah because there wasn’t a 25m line.
“We want to make sure Robbie is respectfully honoured as well,” he said. “We have a heap of video content for Robbie, presentations to him, all sorts of stuff for our fans.”
The Rabbitohs are shooting for a 10th successive win — their longest winning sequence since 1989 — while the Tigers are desperate to keep alive their finals hopes.