St George Illawarra strongman Tariq Sims rates his three games for the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues that claimed the Ampol State of Origin series this season as one of the highlights of his career.
He told the Dragons website after playing an Origin game in 2018 and another in 2019, to have the chance to compete throughout the entire series in 2021 was a personal milestone he won’t forget.
Sims started all three games in the backrow for the Blues in the Ampol State of Origin series this season and played a key role in helping them secure a historic 2-1 win after all three games were played in Queensland.
He turned in a strong performance in Game One, after he was tackled by Dane Gagai close to the line but still managed to shovel a great pass out for Brian To’o to score in the corner.
“Being involved in Origin is always a big thing,” Sims told dragons.com.au.
“It’s a really big achievement to get one Origin but to play all three and win the series, that was a definitely a highlight.”
Another bookmark in his career was captaining the side in the Round 23 match against the Sydney Roosters, with Ben Hunt and Andrew McCullough both out through injury.
Sims was again named skipper for the final two games of the season against the North Queensland Cowboys and South Sydney Rabbitohs.
“It was a huge achievement and one I didn’t see coming to be brutally honest,” Sims said.
“It’s not something you’re asking for – you always want to represent your team and your family well and the blokes who pulled on the jersey before you.
“So, when the coach called me up and let me know that I’d be leading the boys out…it was a very proud moment and one that I will always cherish.”
Sims is off contract at the end of 2022 after passing the 200 NRL games mark at the Dragons this year.
The 31-year-old hasn’t been offered a new deal beyond next year but is determined to put himself in the best position to stay with the Red\ V beyond that deadline.
The Dragons farewelled 10 players this year including NRL regulars Cameron McInnes, Matt Dufty, Corey Norman and Gerard Beale.
But the emergence of young stars like Tyrell Sloan at fullback, Jayden Sullivan at hooker, and Talatau Amone at five-eighth, who were all given time in the NRL in 2021, excites Sims.
"The skeleton of our squad is really starting to take shape,” he said.
“A couple of those boys, it was their first pre-season and they weren't supposed to be getting a look in this year.
"We will be working tirelessly. We have a little break with our families, have some downtime, and then turn back up in November ready for next year.
"We have lost a lot of big boys this year, but next year we gain a lot of blokes. That's the beauty of the beast in rugby league, but we have a great coaching team, a great strength and conditioning team, and they will be licking their lips to get a hold of them and get them into shape."
Arriving in 2022 are George Burgess (Wigan Warriors), Moses Mbye (Wests Tigers), Francis Molo (Cowboys), Jaydn Su'a (Rabbitohs), and Moses Suli (Sea Eagles).