In uncertain future, Fittler backs Sims to deliver for Dragons, NSW Blues | Mercury of Illawarra

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NSW State of Origin coach Brad Fittler has backed Tariq Sims to make an impact when he finally returns as a first year. The pair worked closely together in the Origin Arena, with Sims one of the best Blues in winning the series last year. But just eight months later, the veteran striker is battling to break into the Dragons 17 as coach Anthony Griffin looks to the future. Read more: Son’s first ‘special’ Basel goal for Chipperfield Sims came in the reserve category at the weekend after an injury-hampered pre-season, and despite Fittler refusing to rule out the player’s selection 32-year-old from the NSW Cup, he said he wants to see the St George Illawarra veteran back in the NRL. “We start every year with the team that played last year,” Fittler said. “That’s how it works. You want them all to be fit sometimes the motivation goes down and can leave you. “I know Ray Brown played for Manly and was picked for NSW off reserve but I thinks Tariq is better than that. He has done a tremendous job for NSW, if he works hard I think there will definitely be an opportunity.” Fittler was in Wollongong to run a Blues Youth Leadership program which aims to help secondary school students overcome the A place in the St George Illawarra 17 is likely to open up for Friday’s clash with the Panthers, Aaron Woods in doubt after suffering a hamstring injury in Saturday’s win over the Warriors Sims is l ‘one of many Dragons players facing an uncertain future as Griffin remakes the roster in his image.The product Gerringong has been told his contract will not be extended beyond this year and he is free to pursue opportunities elsewhere Sims has since been in talks with the injury-ravaged Storm and while Craig Bellamy expressed interest in the striker on Saturday night, the Dragons are unwilling to grant an immediate release. from a host of pundits who believe Sims should play in the NRL, at any club, and he backed the striker to find his best form once given an opportunity in the top flight. “He has to do what he can do, the rest is up to the coach,” Fittler said of The Sims. “Whatever his future is, it’s just about doing what he can do now. I wish him all the best.” As Griffin looks to the future, Sims remains a leader within the Dragons setup. His teammates look to him for inspiration and they can’t wait to see the striker return to the top tier. As a Queenslander, Francis Molo felt the full force of The Sims’ impact throughout last year’s Origin series and he can’t wait to play alongside the NSW representative. “Everyone knows what Taz brings,” Molo said. “He’s done it at Origin level, he was captain of this team last year. He’s aggressive, he runs hard and he’s a leader in our team. We’ll have to wait and see when he comes back.” Sims is one of many Dragons players looking to feature in the Origin Arena, with Jack de Belin and Zac Lomax chasing NSW selection this year. Fittler was particularly impressed with Lomax’s performance in Saturday night’s first-round win over the Warriors and the Blues coach said the path to an Origin call-up was pretty straightforward. “They have to keep winning,” Fittler said. “Most (Origin) players come out of winning teams, that’s how it works. If Zac’s score tries, thinking about the team, it gives them a better chance of winning and that means a few -some of them have a better chance of being rep teams.” To read more stories, download the Illawarra Mercury news app from the Apple Store or Google Play.


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