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Sims wants to spark rep hopes in middle

NZN 1/03/2017 Scott Bailey

Tariq Sims hopes a shift to the front-row for St George Illawarra will reignite his NSW State of Origin hopes.

The 27-year-old New South Welshman was regularly considered an Origin player in waiting early in his career, called in to train with the state squad during his rookie year at North Queensland in 2011.

He also featured as the 19th man for Game II of the Blues' successful 2015 series, but has not returned to the Origin scene since.

Instead, a disappointing 18-month stint at Newcastle has placed him further back in the pack behind the new crop of rising talent, and Sims now hopes to forge his way forward as a prop.

"Obviously I want to play rep football," Sims said.

"If playing in the middle gets me that rep jersey or in the frame for that middle role, then I will definitely role my sleeves up and do my job."

Sims made his move to the engine room last June after his shift mid-season from Newcastle to the Dragons.

He came off the bench in all but one of his eight games for the Dragons last year, and will again be used as an interchange on Saturday against Penrith, but believes he will be better placed after a full summer preparing to play prop.

"I've come here to play in the middle," Sims said.

"I've had the luxury of having close to 15 weeks learning my new trade and I'm pretty excited for the season to start."

Also key to Sims' representative hopes is the forward pack he's armed himself alongside.

The Dragons pack - headlined by back-rowers Tyson Frizell and Joel Thompson - will be key to turning around the club's attacking woes as they look to get their offence on the front foot.

Sims and fellow bench prop Leeson Ah Mau will be used in an impact role for the Dragons off the back of starting props Russell Packer and Paul Vaughan.

But Sims believes the momentum created by the big men he is playing alongside can best help him press his representative claims.

"I'm just glad that I'm part of a forward pack that we're all pulling towards the one direction," Sims said.

"To get the opportunity to play alongside the players that I'm playing with, it's obviously going to help my footy and hopefully get me on the rep scene."

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