ST GEORGE Illawarra remain fuming over the judiciary charge that threatens to rub back-rower Tariq Sims out of next Wednesday's Origin decider and the Dragons crunch clash with Canberra in Wollongong four days later.
Sims was slapped with a grade two dangerous contact charge following a hit on North Queensland five-eighth Michael Morgan in the Dragons win over the Cowboys at WIN Stadium on Friday night.
The shot was deemed not to warrant a penalty by on-field officials but the match review panel deemed it serious enough to slug Sims with a charge carrying two weeks with an early guilty plea. He risks missing three games should he fight the charge and lose.
Sims is expected to be named in what will likely be an extended Blues squad for Origin III on Monday after playing from the bench in the Blues' big win over Queensland in game two, though David Klemmer is certain to return to the squad after missing the Perth clash with a fractured wrist.
Missing out on a chance at claiming an Origin series victory would be heartbreaking for Sims - who's ridden a well-publicised roller coaster to his long-awaited NSW debut last season - but a suspension is also something the Dragons can ill-afford.
Coach Paul McGregor has battled an injury crisis that's seen other key forwards Tyson Frizell, Korbin Sims and James Graham miss a combined 14 games this season.
Jack de Belin has also not taken the field as his well-publicised court battles stemming from a sexual assault charge continue to play out.
The injury woes have also included five-eighth Corey Norman, who missed four games with a fractured cheekbone after being levelled by Parramatta winger Maika Sivo after passing the ball in the Dragons loss to the Eels in round eight.
Sivo was not penalised on the field or cited by the match review panel for the hit that saw Norman leave the park and for an HIA and not return after medical staff confirmed he had suffered a facial fracture that later required surgery.
That inconsistency has added to the Dragons and the club's fans frustrations given Sims' predicament.
That Cowboys coach, and NRL competition committee member, Paul Green's post-game comments around the tackle influenced the MRP will likely be denied, but won't wash in the St George Illawarra camp.
McGregor gave a fair indication of that post-match on Friday, saying in no uncertain terms that Green needs to "zip his mouth" referring to Green's own criticism of Blues coach Brad Fittler's comments about Cowboys lock Josh McGuire's grubby late shot on James Maloney in the dying moments of Origin II.
That hit resulted in a grade one charge that saw McGuire miss Friday's clash with the Dragons but frees him up to play for the Maroon's in Wednesday week's decider.
Sims' possible absence would further test depth while Kayln Ponga's calf injury could well have a flow on effect for the Dragons, with Corey Norman shaping as the Maroons' likely replacement for Origin III.
Norman was called into camp ahead of game two and spent much of the week training in the halves with skipper Daly Cherry Evans on light duties as he continues nursing an ankle injury.
Norman's fresh familiarity with the Maroons system would make him an attractive option in the No. 6 for Kevin Walters should he choose to shift Cameron Munster to fullback.
Should Walters go that way it would leave the Dragons without both first-choice halves for Thursday's clash with Melbourne in Wollongong.