NSW Origin second-rower Tariq Sims insists he has unfinished business with the Dragons before making an anticipated move into the middle at the Storm next season.
Sims, who has signed a one-year deal with Melbourne, is expected to continue playing for St George Illawarra until the end of the season and insisted he remained committed to helping the club return to finals.
A Steelers junior, who returned to the club in 2016 under former coach Paul McGregor after stints in North Queensland and Newcastle, Sims said he would always have a soft spot for the Dragons.
"I still love the club," Sims said. "I still love the people in the front office, the fans, they're all a very big part of my life here in the last six-to-seven years. They've been nothing but awesome to me and my family.
"I've never taken it for granted to pull on a Red V jumper. It's a very proud jumper and one I still to this day, every time I go out before I play, I smell it, I think about the past players, my family, and my teammates. That's my last ritual before I go out and play.
"That hasn't changed. My love towards the club hasn't changed and I don't think it ever will. It's a club that's given me a lot of opportunities. It's given me time to grow as a player.
"When 'Mary' got me here, that was probably one of the most exciting times in my life, to come and play for the Red V.
“It’s been a big part of my family with my brother Ashton playing here and coming through the junior ranks, so to say I played a few seasons at the Dragons is something I am proud of.”
After being told late last season that he wouldn't be offered a contract extension beyond this year, Sims admitted he had taken time to come to terms with the decision but was determined not to let it effect his form.
The 32-year-old is excited about the opportunity to join the Storm but with Jaydn Su'A suffering an ankle injury in the ANZAC Day triumph over Sydney Roosters, his immediate focus is Sunday's clash with Wests Tigers at WIN Stadium.
The Dragons have indicated they do not intend to release Sims early and it is understood that there has been no approach from the Storm about doing so.
“I’m pretty focused on playing on good, consistent, hard football," said Sims, who will start in the second-row against the Tigers. "I’m a firm believer in controlling what you can control.
"To get it done and to be going to a club like Melbourne, it's very exciting, but I've still got a job here to do. I never wanted to leave.
"I've gone through that period of being emotionally upset about it but it is part of my job, I can't dwell on it. You have got to make sure you are important to your team and contribute at a high standard and that is what I want to do."
With Melbourne losing Test forwards Jesse Bromwich, Kenny Bromwich, Felise Kaufusi (all Dolphins) and Brandon Smith (Roosters) next season, Sims indicated his role may be in the middle rather than his usual position of edge second-rower.
“When I do make that transition into the middle that is what really excites me about learning my trade down there under the coaching staff, and with the players they have down there," Sims said.
“To make that transition at a club like that is very exciting. The Storm are among the top tier clubs. I’ll cut their oranges if they want me to ... but I am still here at the moment."