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NSW forward Tariq Sims.

"I thought this is it, I should change jobs."

Tariq Sims once figured back-to-back broken legs had got the better of him, and that he'd be better served in a gig where you don't "get paid to run into other people".

So fair play when he figures his emotions may get the better of him at some point leading into a long-awaited, much-cherished NSW Origin debut next Wednesday night at Suncorp Stadium.

At times, the Gerringong junior seemed destined to wear sky blue.

In 2011 he was a Dally M finalist in both the Back-Rower and Rookie of the Year awards, despite having his debut Cowboys season cut short by a left leg broken in two places against Cronulla.

Nine months later he was called into the Blues set-up by Ricky Stuart, as cover for skipper Paul Gallen as he battled a knee issue.

Within the hour Sims couldn't have been further from the game's highest level.

The same two bones had snapped again. In the exact same place.

A collision with Penrith's Cameron Ciraldo, and the ensuing nine months of rehabilitation and recovery left Sims wondering whether he'd even get back on a footy field, let alone back into Origin calculations.

Fittler chasing a Blues whitewash

"I was only 21 when I first broke my leg," Sims told reporters, minutes after finally hearing Brad Fittler read out his name on the NSW team sheet.

"And you can imagine how mentally immature I would've been towards a job where you get paid to run into other people.

"And people don't attack your legs but you get tackled around your legs every run. Just coming back from that, it was tough. But to do it a second time, I was in a really bad way.

"But I had a lot of good family and friends that were around to support me and help me focus on what I really loved to do and that was play footy.

"It has been an emotional journey. There's been a few days, years ago when I thought this is it, I should change jobs.

"There was other options that I had and I was investigating because I didn't know how I would come back from that second (broken leg).

"But a lot of things have fallen in my favour with a lot of hard work and dedication that's gone into it. I'm very proud of myself and my loved ones."

Sims has been through the wringer in more ways than one throughout his career.

He's now landed back at the Dragons, over a decade since he first departed for Brisbane, then Townsville and an unhappy stint in Newcastle.

While Sims' physicality has always been his hallmark, at times with the Cowboys he was spending more time off the paddock than on it through suspension.

These days, there is no better man who targets an opposition halfback in the NRL.

Dragons back-rower Tariq Sims.
Dragons back-rower Tariq Sims. ©NRL Photos

The build up to the breakthrough series win for the Blues was something else for Sims.

As 18th man for games one and two, he was front and centre in the NSW inner sanctum.

Right until it matters most.

"I warmed up down in Melbourne, we just warmed up inside," said.

"It was weird, you get ready for a physical game and then you get the tap on the shoulder to go have a shower.

"I sat over there in those seats (during game two at ANZ Stadium) and I put my head on the rail - you're excited, but you want to channel your energy for the boys.

"It's just one of those things, you've just got to ride the wave." 

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