On This Day: Simms Changes The Rule Books
On this day in 1971, as we kick off our successful Premiership defence, there are two major rule changes to the game: the four-tackle rule is expanded to allow six tackles; and the value of a field goal is reduced from two points to one.
The second rule change is widely attributed to Souths fullback Eric Simms, who has become so prolific at drop goals that it is seen as an unfair advantage.
It wouldn't prove to stifle the Rabbitohs as we won our opening six games and clamied the Premiership - only losing five games out of 24.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the Clubs proud history, Simms is best remembered for his freakish kicking ability, and for playing in 206 first-grade games in the red and green, including five straight Grand Finals from 1967 to 1971 – four of which were won by the Rabbitohs.
A South Junior, Simms made his first-grade debut after winning a Premiership with the La Perouse Panthers. After signing with the Rabbitohs as a 19 year-old, Simms initially started off in the centres and on the wing before a positional shift saw him claim the custodian role for the red and greens – a position that he made his own.