A PERIOD when playing days are named and numbered.

In these troubled times, to gain a bit of light relief, we look back over 25 seasons of squad numbering in the Super League era.

In the beginning

Warrington wore squad numbers for the first time on April 5, 1996, for the home game against Workington Town in round two of Super League I. Warrington had worn numbers 1-17 for the opening game in Super League, a 22-18 win over Leeds at Headingley, five days earlier. Scrum-half Mike Ford was a No7 at Leeds, but became a No20 against Workington!

Warrington Guardian:

The first season in which The Wire wore squad numbers. All pictures by Mike Boden

A load of Bull

Squad numbers were introduced to increase the sale of replica kits. Bradford Bulls claimed great success with their “Robbie 1” shirt for the full-back Robbie Paul, now Robbie Hunter-Paul.

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On high

Warrington’s highest squad number is the No46 worn by David Murray in 1997.

The man with no name!

Martin Carney, a forward signed from Orrell St James, was a substitute in 1997. Fortunately he got to come on, in a famous victory over Wigan 35-24, unfortunately he didn’t get to have his name or number on his jersey, or to ever play first team football for the club again!

The over 30's club

Castleford Tigers away in 2001, we had six players with squad numbers over 30…but still won 31-28.

Wheeling and dealing

When Warrington signed the former St Helens centre Gary Wheeler in October 2014 he really should have been dealt the No3 shirt to make him “3 Wheeler”. Instead he got No23!

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Express Royle male

In 2005 season Warrington had a winger Nick Royle, that probably not a lot of supporters will remember. He was designated squad number 26, selected on the subs bench at Leeds, but never came on. He didn’t get a second chance. Noted for his speed, he returned to Rugby Union, and eventually played for the England RU sevens team.

Magic numbers

For Magic Weekend 2013 against St Helens at the Etihad Stadium, Warrington showed their strength in depth by having squad numbers 8, 9 and 10 on the bench – Adrian Morley, Michael Monaghan and Garreth Carvell. Warrington won 48-22 with Morley coming off the bench to score the eighth and final try.

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Iconic shirt

An iconic Warrington shirt with a number 31 on it, came in September 2005. The Australian superstar Andrew Johns was signed on short term loan, and his number was also his age at that time.

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Not wanted

Almost every season squad numbers are allocated and not used. In 1996, for example, hooker John Thursfield wore the No28 at Halifax as a non-playing sub, but that was as close as he got to the action that season.

Back to basic

Warrington ditched squad numbers and lined up from 1-17 for the “last match at Wilderspool” against New Zealand A in October 2003.

Benny the kitman

Ben Westwood must have a wardrobe full of differently numbered Warrington kits. He started off in 2002 as the No34 before moving to No4 in 2003. By 2005 he had switched from centre to second row and become a No15. From 2007 to 2015, he wore No12 before lining up as a No13 in 2016. To complete his Wolves journey he returned back to No34 for his last three seasons with the club.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian: Richie Mathers celebrates with Ben Westwood after a Wolves try against Hull at Wilderspool in 2002

Warrington Guardian:

Bobby dazzler

How about this from former Saints superstar Bobby Goulding. In June 2014, whilst coach of Barrow Raiders, he came out of playing retirement, to play against fellow strugglers Rochdale Hornets. As Barrow already had a number 7 squad number player (Liam Campbell) Bobby played with number 3+4 on his back! Despite this being his first game back after a nine-year absence, he helped his team to only their second win at that point of the season.

Can't and Dec

And finally, this season Warrington have issued squad numbers 1-30 but we have yet to see eight of them in action, including No12 Jack Hughes and No21 Dec Patton.

Compiled by Gary Slater and Stanski