Work it up field and give it Simms was the game plan, for Simms, it turned into a rugby league record. The most career field goals by any player. No matter what the situation, no matter what the score, you could always count on Merro crossing the line. The official record holder for most tries by a Rabbitoh. Which moment will move on? Only you can decide.
Eric Simms Most Points in Grand Finals. 1965 & 1967-71 (41 points)
Top Moments - Eric Simms' Most Grand Final Points
There have been many great players of Aboriginal background to play rugby league, but none have broken as many pointscoring records as our own Eric John Simms, or just simply ‘Ecka’, or even ‘Golden Boots’, as he was affectionately known. One of his records still stands today and may even be with us for a long time to come – his 41 points scored in six grand finals is the most points scored by any individual. He was born on 2 August 1945 in Newcastle.
His parents come from Karuah, north of Newcastle. They divorced when he was young and he spent a lot of his childhood at La Perouse in the South Sydney district. “I went to La Perouse Primary School and then moved back to Karuah and went to Raymond Terrace High,” Simms says. He played his junior football with La Perouse Panthers and for Karuah A Grade when he moved back up there after leaving school.
Simms was a member of Souths’ Presidents Cup winning-side of 1965 that beat Parramatta in the final by 20-2, when he kicked 7 goals. He made his first-grade debut in 1965 against the great St. George side in Round 17 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, kicking 4 goals from 6 attempts in Souths’ 17-8 victory. He played the next four games of that season for Souths and including the famous 1965 grand final, where an official crowd figure of 78,056 was given, but was more around the 100,000 mark when gates were opened.
The Rabbitohs were up against the mighty St. George side who were going for a record tenth straight grand final win. Unfortunately, the Dragons’ experience on the day was enough to get them through 12-8, with Simms kicking a goal for Souths. Incredibly, the following week Simms went back to La Perouse and won the A Grade premiership.
After a disappointing 1966 season the Rabbitohs bounced back where they belonged the following season, and their opponents in the grand final were Canterbury. Simms’ 40-yard toe-poke with only four minutes to go secured Souths the premiership in their 12-10 heart-stopping victory over the Berries.
He scored three goals in the big game and 233 points during the 1967 season. Simms kicked 5 goals in the 1968 grand final against Manly, and 212 points for the season. Balmain’s victory in the 1969 grand final is recognised as the biggest boilover in premiership history.
Their tactics of laying down ‘injured’ worked well to throw the Rabbitohs off their game, and to keep Simms well out of range from kicking goals for most of the game. Simms had only two shots at goal and one unsuccessful field goal attempt during the game, scoring only one penalty goal in the 61st minute.
He scored a record 265 points during the 1969 season, which stood for nine years until Parramatta’s Mick Cronin overtook him with 282 points in 1982. Sattler entered grand final folklore when he battled for 77 minutes of the 1970 grand final with a broken jaw, and Simms scored 14 points in the Rabbitohs’ 23-12 victory, and 241 points during the season.
In the 1971 grand final Souths held an unusual 1-0 lead at half-time against St. George, thanks to a field goal by Simms. This was the year that the League reduced the value of the field goal from two to one point. This is what he commented on the rumours that the value was changed owing to him scoring so many.
"I never really believed the league changed the rule because of me ... But over the years so many people told me I was the cause that there must be something to it," Simms said. Souths went on to win 16-10 and claim their 20th premiership. It would be another 43 years before they clinched their next one.
Many of his teammates say that Simms had ice water in his veins. “They say you’re ice-cool, but you are never ice bloody cool”, he laughs. “You always worry about it … have I allowed enough for the wind, have I lined it up right? If only they knew. You just hoped and prayed that you struck it right and the ball was going to go through the posts.”
Summary of his Grand Final points:
1965 – 1 goal from 2 attempts (2 pts)
1967 – 3 goals from 5 attempts (6 pts)
1968 – 5 goals from 7 attempts (10 pts)
1969 – 1 goal from 2 attempts (2 pts)
1970 – 3 goals from 5 attempts, 4 field goals (14 pts)
1971 – 3 goals from 4 attempts, 1 field goal (7 pts)
Total = 16 goals from 25 attempts, 5* field goals (41 points)
In 1970 field goals were worth 2 pts, and in 1971 they were worth only 1.
Nathan Merritt Most Tries in a career for Souths. 2014 (146 tries)
Top Moments - Nathan Merritt's Record Career Tries
Nathan Merritt. South Sydney through-and-through.
Growing up streets away from Redfern Oval and playing his junior football at Alexandria, all Nathan Merritt ever wanted to do was play for Souths.
An out-and-out speedster, he knew how to find the line.
And in his last season he broke an 81 year old record - the most tries for the Club, which still stands to this day!