Tariq Sims creating history in Ruan's footsteps
NSW forward Tariq Sims has declared his pride at becoming the first State of Origin player to follow in the footsteps of his sister.
While there have been 14 sets of siblings to have played Origin, Tariq and Ruan Sims are the first brother and sister to appear in the interstate arena after the St George Illawarra second rower's call-up for the Blues in next Wednesday's series finale at Suncorp Stadium.
Sims and his younger brother Korbin have previously been involved in Origin camps with NSW and Queensland but Ruan is the only member of the rugby league family, which includes brother Ashton and sister CJ, to have played in the interstate arena.
"Ruan has cut a pretty hard path for us to follow and she casts a pretty big shadow," Sims told NRL.com. "My bigger sister is definitely a huge influence and someone I try to aspire to be like.
"I will always look up to her because she has done so much and achieved so much in her sporting career. It's not just footy, because she has represented NSW and Australia in so many areas it is ridiculous."
Ruan is the Blues and Jillaroos captain but missed the recent Women's Holden State of Origin match after breaking her wrist playing for NSW Country at last month's Harvey Norman National Championship.
She was also left sporting a black eye after a match against Queensland City and there are suggestions CJ was responsible for the damage.
"That's unconfirmed but there is a bit of sibling rivalry there," Tariq said.
However, he had no hesitation confirming which of the five siblings hits the hardest in defence.
"I would definitely say Ruan, you have just got to look at her highlights reel or type in her name [to a search engine]. She is someone I'd hate to get on the bad side of," he said.
After only learning of his selection for Origin III when introduced on stage as No.14 when the Blues team was announced at a function on Monday, Sims had wanted to call his family but the NSW players were under a mobile phone ban except for 15 minutes after they got to their Coogee hotel.
When he finally turned his phone on, Sims was inundated with messages of congratulations and he saw Ruan during the filming of Channel Nine's 100% Footy show, which she co-hosts, on Monday night.
"I had a little monitor there and I could see her talking about me and see her swelling with pride," Sims said. "That really hit home and I had to duck off to the side."
He also spoke on the phone to wife, Ashleigh, father Peter and brother Ashton, who now plays for the Toronto Wolfpack and whom he has previously played alongside for North Queensland and Fiji, along with Korbin.
"Ashton is very excited. He was at the Cowboys when I broke my leg both times and he has seen what I have had to go through to get my career back on track, just to play NRL," Sims said. "To finally be so close to playing an Origin game is unbelievable. My whole family is ecstatic."
Dragons coach Paul McGregor said Sims deserved his Origin selection after starting the season in a battle with Luciano Leilua for the left second-row position made vacant by Joel Thompson's departure to Manly.
"He actually came to me when Joel left and said I really want that opportunity, and I said let's go about earning it," McGregor said. "I thought he had a magnificent pre-season, he is a big body and the work he does around having that big body gets to what you see on the weekend.
"His trial form wasn't the best but once it came to round one he has been the most consistent forward in our club so to get the reward, it is a good story.
"He has had his setbacks along the way as well and some people would have fallen away from the game but he fell towards it and he is doing a magnificent job for us, and I am sure he will do the same for NSW against Queensland.
"He has earned that jumper through his performance during the year and I think he is getting better as the year has gone on."