Blood bin con is nothing new...

There's nothing new in professional sport.

This was brought to mind by the news that a rugby union player has incurred the wrath of the authorities for faking a cut to avoid making a substitution by utilising the bloodbin rule.

But the then Halifax coach Steve Simms tried this trick at Warrington in April 1996!

There were four substitutes in those days and each player, once taken off could go back on once again - in other words, a total of eight changes.

It had been the previous season when the number of substitutes had been increased from two to four.

One of the first reactions in the Thrum Hall boardroom to that news was that of cost!

Winning money then was 350.

Two extra players meant 700 more to shell out every time you won a game!

This particular match at Wilderspool was a dire affair one Friday night.

It absolutely tipped it down as Warrington won 16-10.

The newly christened Blue Sox had made a shocking start to Super League.

Despite finishing 1995/96 in third position after stirring home wins over the Wolves and St Helens to round off the season Simms's men had stuttered to a big home cup defeat to Leeds and then league defeats to London, Oldham and Castleford.

The latter defeat on Easter Tuesday, three days before the game in question, had been a shocker where Halifax had romped into a healthy lead only to see the Tigers come back in the second half to win narrowly.

Chopping and changing the side hadn't helped matters.

Simms was at loggerheads with some of the club's bigger names and the dressing room wasn't as happy as it could be.

A threatened (albeit halfhearted) strike over match fees and expenses had only been reconciled in the week before the game against the Broncos.

New chief executive Nigel Wood basically wanted to drive down winning pay as fulltime players now commanded fulltime salaries and, in a revolutionary move, wanted to scrap expenses altogether.

This was seen as a perk – every player was given 11p per mile but if four of them shared a car they all claimed the allowance.

The team that night (Fax's third game in a week) as per Andrew Hardcastle was Mike Umaga, Fereti Tuilagi, John Schuster, Asa Amone, Abi Ekoku, Marty Moana, Craig Dean, Karl Harrison, Roy Southernwood, Wayne Jackson, Paul Moriarty, Mark Perrett and Simon Baldwin. The substitutes were Paul Rowley, Carl Gillespie, Paul Highton and Mick Martindale.

It was to be Southernwood's final first appearance for the club.

And note how five from the first six names on the teamsheet were overseas players.

Late in the game at Wilderspool though all those substitute changes referred to at the beginning had been made.

And Simms wanted to get another replacement on with time running out.

When told by Tony Anderson that he couldn't bring off the puffing and blowing Wayne Jackson under the circumstances he yelled, "hit him then. We'll have a blood bin".

TA politely declined.....


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