After finally getting the chance to start in his preferred second-row role, Tariq Sims has vowed to target Daly Cherry-Evans with controlled aggression on Wednesday night.
Sims has previously represented the Blues in the 2018 Origin decider and the second match of the 2019 series but on both occasions, he was selected on the interchange and played mainly as a middle forward.
However, with Sydney Roosters forwards Boyd Cordner and Angus Crichton unavailable, Sims received another call up as NSW’s left edge second-rower and he aims to keep his spot in the Blues side for the entire series.
"I am very thankful for the opportunity," Sims said.
"As a kid, you always strive to be the best in the game and start in a Blues team so to get the phone call telling me I was in the team and was starting back row was one of those moments you cherish.
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"I’ve played Origin before but I’ve always come on in the middle and drifted out on the edge, then gone back in the middle, so to get the green light to start the game and go from the first minute is exciting."
The 31-year-old has been given the job of pressuring Cherry-Evans, the Queensland halfback and captain, while performing the role of bodyguard for rookie Blues five-eighth Jarome Luai in his Origin debut.
However, after missing St George Illawarra’s recent 13-12 loss to Cronulla after he was one of five Dragons players suspended over incidents in the Magic Round clash with Melbourne, Sims is aware of the need to remain disciplined.
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"This is the pinnacle of my career and one of the proudest moments I have ever had but if I make a mistake I could be out the door so everything I do needs to be calculated and done in the right way and done in a way that is beneficial for the team," he said.
"Origin is such a team sport, you can’t do things one out and the outline of my job is to protect my half and make sure their half plays early, and to do it all above board, because these days you can sent off quite easily."
Sims admitted he had feared that the one-match ban for a hip drop on Storm forward Tyson Smoothy may have cost him a Blues jersey so he was relieved to receive a phone call from Brad Fittler.
Fittler told him his role for Origin I and Sims said he was looking forward to playing alongside the likes of Jake Trbojevic, Cameron Murray and Isaah Yeo in a star-studded Blues forward pack.
"To play Origin you have got to be disciplined and unfortunately I sat a week out through suspension but am here to do a job and I know what that job is," Sims said.
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"To make their ball players play early, and [to do it] legally, and to protect my half as well is pretty much the outline of my job.
"I’m excited. The opportunity to rub shoulders with the best in the game brings out the best in me so I am looking forward to this opportunity and what is going to happen.
"I think that second phase football plays such a big role in rugby league now so to have so many ball players in our team like we do is going to be beneficial to us."
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