With each day of pre-season training, Korbin Sims is getting more strength in the arm he broke last year as well as added confidence in the player who is likely to be his front-row partner in 2018, Matt Lodge.
Sims, who broke his right arm in Brisbane Broncos' round 25 Telstra Premiership clash with the Parramatta Eels at the end of last season, played alongside Warriors recruit Adam Blair as a starting prop for most of last season.
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has pinpointed 22-year-old Lodge as a starting prop in 2018, and Sims said that faith had been vindicated by what he had seen at training.
After a stellar season with the Redcliffe Dolphins in the Intrust Super Cup, the 118kg former Wests Tigers forward has been training strongly for the Broncos.
“Lodgey is a big dude and he is real fit. He conducts himself in and around training really, really well,” Sims said.
“What Wayne sees in him is exactly what the Broncos need this year. Losing a guy like Adam for this season, Lodgey is a perfect example of a bloke that can slot straight into a position that he needs to play.
“He is a skilful dude too, so I am looking forward to running a couple of short lines off him.
“I’m not sure if he has the offload that Blairy [Adam Blair] does ... but he does have a good pre-line pass and he is a big dude, so I am sure he is going to create a lot of space.”
Sims missed last year’s finals series, and then was ruled out of the World Cup for Fiji.
Now wearing an armguard at training, he said his confidence was returning after the initial disappointment of having missed the back-end of 2017.
“I was a bit dirty on myself for the timing of the injury, but that’s football, and then missing the World Cup [for Fiji] was a massive confidence downer for me,” he said.
“I feel as though I have been training well. I have been back in full contact for about a month now. It could be the smallest knock that you’ve got to be careful of, or the biggest one that you see coming.
“It is all about getting used to wearing the guard and getting into contact, because it is my right hand and I carry the ball with my right hand.”
Sims relished being a starting prop in 2017 and is hoping to reacquaint himself with the role this season.
The former Newcastle Knight is yet to play a finals match in his 98-game career so it was no surprise he said he was “super pumped” about the season ahead as the Broncos prepare to mark 30 years since entering the then NSWRL with something special.
“I’d love to get my starting spot back. I love doing that for the Broncos,” Sims said.
“I thought last year was a bit of a stepping stone for my career. I missed the  finals series, so for me there is a lot of hunger.
“I know there is a lot of hunger in this group. Even though it is a young side, Wayne has really drilled the history of the club into us this pre-season.
“I really do believe we have the starting players [to make an impact in 2018], and touch wood if an injury does strike, that we have the players to come in and fill that gap.”
Sims said he would embrace the need for him to fill the leadership gap left by Blair's switch to the New Zealand Warriors.
“I’d like to think that with the young group that is coming through that I can be a leader, with the experience that has left in Blairy,” he said.
"I played pretty much all of last year so I know what to expect from a full season of Bronco footy now.
“If the young lads want me to ask me for advice…I am more than happy to help out and develop the younger lads coming through, especially the forwards.”