DRAGONS hardman Tariq Sims hasn’t had to look far for inspiration this preseason after watching the exploits of older siblings Ruan and Ashton at the recent World Cup.
Ruan, the eldest of the Gerringong-raised Sims clan, led the Jillaroos to their second World Cup triumph while Ashton was a key cog in the Fijian side that upset New Zealand 8-4 in the quarter finals.
As a man who has the words ‘Family is Everything’ tattooed on his stomach, Sims said he rode every moment of both campaigns.
“It was unreal to watch Ashton run around for Fiji,” Sims, himself a former Fijian International, said.
“Doing what he’s doing at his age now and how long he’s been doing it, it’s a testament to the sort of bloke he is.
“The way that, not just himself, but Fiji attacked New Zealand that night was pretty inspirational.
“I know there’s only the little island of Fiji but there’s a lot of fans that they won over outside the Fijian people.
“On the other side of things, it was great my sister Ruan got the job done with the Jillaroos. She was great and led from the front and did the job she needed to do.
“She ended up getting a few meat pies [tries] throughout the tournament and they were lucky enough to come away with the win.”
Having watched her toil away through self-funded international tours and playing at empty suburban grounds, Sims said he was glad to see his sister and her teammates getting long-overdue recognition.
“She’s done all that hard stuff, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if you told me she’d been out there raising money selling lemonade,” Sims said.
“They’ve come a long way since she started out and it’s great for the game. I think she’s helped grow the game and definitely put the jersey in a better position than when she picked it up.
I think Ruan's helped grow the game and definitely put the jersey in a better position than when she picked it up.Tariq Sims
“As a player that represents someone or something, that's always a goal of yours to do. Watching the way Ruan’s gone about it, I know they’re just as professional as us so it’s wonderful to see.”
Sims has mirrored that leadership role in his second preseason with the Dragons, particularly with World Cup contingent Gareth Widdop, Tyson Frizell and new recruits Ben Hunt and James Graham absent until January.
“It’s a role the older boys definitely don’t take for granted,” Sims said.
“We’re always here to help develop the young guys as players and we need to lead by example all the time and not sometimes. It’s something I enjoy doing and plan to take forward throughout the year.
“We’ve obviously some quality players coming in but we’ve got a lot of players getting their second and third preseason under their belt and that’s going to be great for them in the long run.
“We’ve developed some local juniors who have taken massive steps forward this year so it’s definitely exciting times for the club.”