When you think of John Sutton, you think of the back-rower lifting the NRL premiership trophy aloft in 2014, you think of South Sydney's only player to notch 300 NRL games at the club.

You don't think 'fresh out of rehab', but John Sutton wants you to see the full picture.

Currently a development coach at Redfern as well as the NRL side's blue shirt trainer, the local junior couldn't get too far from the club after 16 seasons donning the cardinal and myrtle, retiring in 2019, however hanging up the boots didn't end his time as a Rabbitoh.

It hasn't halted Sutton from slipping at times during his post-playing career, either.

While some players throw themselves in a media role or an everyday, full-time job elsewhere, Sutton began work with Souths Cares, and stuck around the club's playing group so they wouldn't lack experience after losing himself, Sam Burgess and Greg Inglis from the squad in the same season.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 19: John Sutton poses in front of a mural commemorating his 300th game for the Rabbitohs during a South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL media opportunity at Kensington Oval on July 19, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

However, sitting back and watching his former team mates continue on while his playing days are over wasn't easy, and eventually led John to rehab after alcohol abuse and depression saw the 37-year-old start spiralling.

Speaking on Andy Raymond's podcast Unfiltered, the former star opened up on his unexpected struggles through retirement.

“The last few years haven’t been great. I have suffered bad depression ever since retiring. And, obviously, drinking didn’t help that," Sutton said on the podcast.

“I have been working on myself and the alcohol. I gave it up. I am staying off that. Every day that I stay sober is a good day.

“It’s something that I just don’t need in my life right now.

“The club has looked after me but I have struggled in the last few years transitioning out of football.

“A few months ago I went into rehab and have been trying to sort my life out. It was just so weird after football. I didn’t think I would struggle that much.

“But playing 16 years of rugby league, it was tough in that sense. It’s hard to speak up. Players don’t want to. Men don’t want to. It’s very hard to do for some people, to open up.

“When I finished playing I didn’t want to talk about my problems until it got too bad and I was struggling.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 01: John Sutton of the Rabbitohs is tackled during the round 13 NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Cronulla Sharks at ANZ Stadium on June 1, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

While the Rabbitohs have been supportive of Sutton throughout his personal struggles, it's the lack of support from the NRL itself that frustrates the premiership-winner.

"To be honest, I don’t think (support is adequate), especially for players transitioning out of football.

“It’s tough. It’s all I knew for 16 years.

“I have been grateful for Souths and I have a good job there but I think the NRL should do a lot more in that space where players are transitioning into the next phase of their life and career.

“There needs to be more help in that space."

While he'll be donning a bright blue shirt on the field for the Rabbitohs' knock-out clash against Cronulla, Sutton couldn't be further from being a Shark as he looks to assist the Bunnies in making a fifth consecutive preliminary final.

If you're going through a hard time or suffering mentally, Lifeline's 13 11 14 crisis support service is available 24/7. Anyone in Australia can speak to a trained Crisis Supporter over the phone, any time of the day or night.