DRAGONS enforcer Tariq Sims has called on the club's younger generation to seize their opportunities amid the adversity that's gripped his side over the opening four rounds of the season.
It comes in a week where brother Korbin joined skipper Gareth Widdop (shoulder) on the long-term injury list after suffering a broken arm in a golden-point win over Newcastle last week.
The club has also had to do without star forward Tyson Frizell in two of its four matches after he suffered a nasty testicle injury in the season-opener against North Queensland, while Jack de Belin also remains indefinitely stood down over off-field issues.
It's seen depth tested, particularly in the engine room, but Sims expects the likes of Blake Lawrie and Jacob Host to be the major beneficiaries as the season progresses.
"It's a funny game, one year you can be flying like we were last year and then this year we've been dealt some pretty big injury blows pretty early," Sims said.
"That's just the footy gods playing with us. Injuries occur, accidents occur, suspensions will occur, we've got to be ready and face anything that's thrown at us.
"For guys like Jacob and Blocker [Lawrie], their time is now, they've really got to kick on and fill that void. They've both been in the system for a very long time, it's time for them to take that jersey and really make it their own."
"Seeing those boys kick on has been great. Hosty's knocked out a couple of 80 minutes the last two weeks and the way Blocker's playing at the moment... he's got a great attitude, he's got a great engine.
"They're the sort of blokes you really need in your team and you'll see them grow an extra leg come the back end of the year."
The injury setback continued a frustrating start to Korbin's time in Wollongong in which he was forced to watch his side's opening two games from the sideline as he served a suspension.
No stranger to injury himself throughout his career, Sims said backed his little brother to bounce back from an expected eight-week rehab process.
"He's all right, he was obviously gutted after the game," Sims said.
"Mary [Paul McGregor] has given him a week off so he can get mentally right. He'll hang out with his young fella for a little bit and then he'll come back to work.
"He's a professional, he's been around long enough, he's had long-term injuries in the past so he knows what's required to get himself back.
Injuries occur, accidents occur, suspensions will occur, we've got to be ready and face anything that's thrown at us.Tariq Sims
"It was a pretty amazing effort to do what he did, playing 15-16 minutes with a broken arm.
"At halftime when they said it was broken the first this he said was 'can you splint it up' so he could get back out there.
"It just goes to show our fans what sort of a player he is and how much this jersey and representing the South Coast and his family means to him."