Tariq Sims v Ben Hunt in State of Origin 2018? NSW Blues, Maroons team selection
TARIQ Sims says he would have no problem “laying out” Dragons teammate Ben Hunt if he’s given the job for NSW in State of Origin.
Sims makes no secret of the fact he’s ready to wear a NSW State of Origin jersey.
And now, while watching his brutal display in St George Illawarra’s hard-hitting 24-8 Anzac Day win over the Sydney Roosters, Blues coach Brad Fittler has let it slip that he will be.
The only question about Sims during the competition’s opening weeks was his lack of big-game experience.
But regular season occasions don’t get much bigger than a record Anzac Day crowd at Allianz Stadium.
And just as he did throughout the first seven rounds, Sims delivered.
He twice laid out Cooper Cronk in attack.
Both hits were legal but left the Roosters’ No.7 rattled after he pounced and crunched.
“It was a personal challenge for mine to limit his time with the ball,” Sims said.
“He’s a world-class player. He’s represented Queensland that many times, Australia more than I’ve had hot dinners.
“If he keeps getting off the ground and having a tough day it might cloud his judgment.”
That wasn’t enough for Sims though.
Moments after the second hit, he ran onto a Gareth Widdop short ball and straight past the former Queensland No.7 for the Dragons to go up 18-2.
While he was Saints’ most destructive, Sims wasn’t alone.
Ben Hunt must now be a near certainty to be picked as Queensland halfback.
He got the Dragons going when he ran it on the last in the opening minute before he and Cameron McInnes put a kicking Widdop away for winger Nene Macdonald to score.
But when it was put to Fittler in Channel Nine’s commentary how he’d find a way to stop Hunt’s running game come June, the mentor had one answer.
“We’ll sick Tariq onto him,” he said.
Not that Sims will have any issue with that.
“I’ve got no problem laying out my teammates,” he said.
“Once we get across those white lines, it’s footy. It’s a game, we play it to the best of our ability.
“It’s a tough game, not a soft game. And if you take the line on expect to get hit because that’s what happens.”
Sims is unlikely to be the only Dragons’ back-rower selected for the series- opener in Melbourne.
In fact, there’s every chance they could all be there.
Tyson Frizell is a Blues incumbent and was awarded man of the match on Wednesday.
Jack de Belin is also about the only other player in the competition hitting opponents as hard as Sims.
“They’re at the stage now we’re they’re sick of losing and want to win every week,” Dragons coach Paul McGregor said.
“They are good experienced players and are seasoned. Most of them were here in 2015 when we led the competition and last year as well.”