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Veteran back-rower Tariq Sims.

St George Illawarra enforcer Tariq Sims says his team faces a difficult task trying to contain a new-look Wests Tigers right edge featuring two former Dragons.

Trimmed-down second-rower Luciano Leilua has been named to make his Tigers debut at WIN Stadium on Sunday against his junior club, who he left in the off-season after 43 NRL appearances.

Another new recruit in Leilua's powerful brother Joey slots in at centre, while ex-Dragons halfback Benji Marshall is the experienced playmaker on that side and David Nofoaluma the winger.

Joey Leilua was particularly impressive in the club's final trial against the Warriors as Nofoaluma bagged two tries.

"Their right edge is full of attack," said Sims, who will be parked on the other side having swapped edges with Tyson Frizell.

"They've got big Luch; unfortunately Luch left us here and went to the Tigers. He's got his brother BJ out there.

Dragons focus on defence

"And then obviously 'Bags' [Marshall] is a veteran player who's played some great footy and his resume speaks for itself.

"Their winger [Nofoaluma] is really sharp, he's a great finisher, he does a lot of great work coming out of their end.

"Look, we've got a really hard job cut out for us but it starts with their big forward pack."

Sims said several St George Illawarra players keep in regular touch with Luciano Leilua and he expects the skilful forward to be extra motivated to get one over his old teammates.

Round 1 - Jake Trbojevic makes shock return, Boyd Cordner out

"Luch is a real cruisy dude and he lets his footy do the talking," Sims said. "From all accounts that I've heard and seen of him, he's looking really trim and really fit.

"He'd be hungry to play and like everyone that plays against an old team they want to put their best foot forward. And it's also round one, so he's going to be pretty excited.

"I wish him all the best but just not against us."

Sims is keen to build his combination with halfback Ben Hunt on the Dragons' right edge, with Paul McGregor making the call to switch his second-rowers in a bid to rejuvenate the Red V attack.

It's not a drastic change for Sims, who has been on both sides of the field throughout his 174-game Telstra Premiership career.

"It's cool, playing outside Benny. He's a runner of the ball and he loves to get his jersey dirty," Sims said.

"They're the sort of halfbacks that I love playing off because he's not afraid to take on the line."

The 30-year-old Sims is delighted to be injury free after pushing on all last year despite a double groin issue that required surgery.

"The body's feeling great," he said.

Dragons back-rower Tariq Sims and new partner-in-crime Ben Hunt.
Dragons back-rower Tariq Sims and new partner-in-crime Ben Hunt. ©Shane Myers/NRL Photos

"It's a nice feeling to warm up for a game normally and then play without having to feel anything tightening or pulling."

The NSW Origin representative added that he'll have plenty of support in leading the St George Illawarra pack.

"Jammer [James Graham] is coming back in there, Frizz on the left side, me on the right side," he said.

"And you've got Blocker, young Blake Lawrie – he's really shouldered a lot more load this pre-season."

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