State of origin: Sims eyeing Blues recall as Dragons reboot season

ON THE FLY: Tariq Sims. Picture: NRL Photos
ON THE FLY: Tariq Sims. Picture: NRL Photos

DRAGONS hardman Tariq Sims is confident he remains in the NSW selection mix despite losing his hard-won Blues jumper for game one of this year's series.

Sims offered one of the great stories of 2018 where he was arguably the form forward of the competition over the opening 10 rounds.

It saw him called into Blues camp, where his 19th man for games one and two before making his debut in Origin III.

His start to 2019 has been slower in comparison, with the Dragons struggles seeing him left out of the Blues game-one 17, though coach Brad Fittler has assured the 29-year-old that he's not out of the frame.

"I talked to [Fittler] after the squad was announced and we had a private conversation," Sims said.

"I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm desperate to get into the Blues side but there's a few things that I need to tidy up in my game.

"I know what I need to work on, it's not going to happen overnight. I need to work hard, I need to keep stringing performances together not just sit in hope.

"I know what I need to do, it's just up to me to go out and do it and I think the last couple of weeks I'm starting to hit my straps again."

A wrist injury to David Klemmer will force one change for Fittler ahead of game two. The 18-14 loss could bring about more as the Blues look to keep the series alive, but Sims isn't expecting to see wholesale changes.

"It's going to be really hard to make changes in that Blues side," he said.

"I think the boys played outstanding the other night, I just think the bounce of the ball was going Queensland's way. For big Klem hurt his wrist and keep playing the way that he plays is unbelievable.

"That's what Origin's about, he's putting his teammates before himself. Sitting back the other night and watching them run around, I felt for the boys.

"I really wanted to be out there with them and take those tough carries and do that hard stuff you want impact players to do. That's the sort of role I want to be targeting, that impact player coming off the bench and blowing shoulders off."

It's the role he's most likely to play should he earn a recall on the interchange, though the likes of Matt Lodge, Dale Finucane and Ryan Materson - the 19th man for game one - will all be in the frame.

"I'm a Blue through and through, if my job was to cut oranges and run the bottles out for the boys I'd take that on so hard," Sims said.

"That arena is something that, once you get a taste of it, you just want more and more. Whatever role there is for me to play I'd happily do it.

"It's up to Freddy and the selectors to think about, I just want to make sure I'm playing my best footy for the Dragons and doing all the things I can to take it out of their hands and force my way in."

For his part, Dragons coach Paul McGregor is more than confident Sims can play a role in the middle of the park if required.

"Tariq was there last year in that squad and if you're asking 'can he play Origin?' he's already done it so definitely, without a doubt he can," McGregor said.

"Is he capable of playing in the middle - yes he is. He's best suited on an edge, that's where he plays for his club, but if you ask anyone 'would you play in the middle in Origin?' they definitely would."