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Dragons forward Tariq Sims.

Instead of getting down in the dumps after again being 18th man for NSW in Origin I, Dragons forward Tariq Sims has been motivated by another near-miss.

Sims showed he was not brooding over his non-selection on Monday when he produced a powerhouse display in St George Illawarra's 18-16 win over the Bulldogs.

The 80-minute stellar performance included the Dragons' second try, 141 running metres, as well as 25 tackles and a game-high seven tackle breaks.

The 28-year-old has been on the fringe of his Origin debut since 2015 when he was first called into NSW camp for game two as 19th man.

For game two in Sydney on June 24, the Blues are likely to keep the same squad but if an injury was to occur Sims would be first in line to step in.

"I'm very motivated to hopefully try and push my way into the team," Sims said.

"We had a pretty embarrassing loss to Penrith so having the loss and having the bye weekend with me being 18th man it was a long time between drinks where you couldn't go out there and redeem yourself.

"As an 18th man looking in, I didn't think it [the Blues win] could give me a bit more motivation but it did."

His spot in the Blues squad is even more than deserving after changing his role at the Dragons from a front rower when he was first contracted to cementing the left edge second-rower position, which has seen his game reach new heights.

Dragons prop James Graham.
Dragons prop James Graham. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

With the Blues having 11 debutants, Sims said despite having to take a back seat for game one he enjoyed observing the young talent getting a taste of Origin football.

"It was pretty special to stand back and enjoy watching them competing and training at a high level," Sims said.

"I remember at one stage there I think we were playing cards in the team room and I was looking around the team and thinking, geez he's a superstar, he's a superstar, he's young but he's still a superstar. Then you had James Maloney who was steering the ship with young Nathan Cleary."

Dragons teammate James Graham finally got closure on his Bulldogs move on Monday, playing against them for the first time since his departure at the end of last season.

Graham said coming into the game it wasn't about him facing his former club but about the Dragons getting back on track with a win.

"For me this week it was all about getting the win," Graham said.

"It was longer than two weeks since we've played and we lost that game against Penrith, so for me it was just about trying to perform well and try and get this team a win."

Despite the Bulldogs having won just three from 12 in 2018, Graham commended his former club on their efforts.

"I think you need to give a lot of credit to a club like Canterbury at the moment because every single game they come out and play they've been in the game, in the battle," Graham said.

"They're in every game. You look at their results, they beat Penrith and they were close to beating Penrith again and then they've come close to beating us."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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