Tariq Sims puts himself back in the spotlight
MUCH of the pre-game talk centred around stopping rampaging young forward Jason Taumalolo.
But by the end of the Brisbane v North Queensland clash last Friday it was Cowboys back-row partner Tariq Sims who was pulling the plaudits after reminding NSW Origin coach Laurie Daley he is still one of the best ball-running forwards in the NRL.
So powerful was his performance off the bench in the 18-12 loss, he demanded a starting spot in the Cowboys' side for Saturday's home game with a desperate Warriors outfit.
Impressed Cowboys coach Paul Green has obliged, the young buck yesterday promoted to the pack to take on the hard-hitting Warriors.
Two seasons ago a second broken leg robbed Sims of an Origin debut for NSW.
Now the 24 year-old from the same NSW town of Gerringong as Michael Cronin, is back on the Origin road, ready to reach the heights he promised as a rookie before injury intervened, twice.
Green clearly likes the idea of bulking up his pack with both Sims (193cm, 106kg) and Taumalolo (191cm, 110kg) part of a monster backrow behind Test props Matt Scott and James Tamou against the bruising Warriors.
While Taumalolo had a few errors in his game against the Broncos he still managed six tackle-busts and 141m from 14 carries.
Sims' figures were similar with seven tackle-busts from 13 runs, and two line breaks off the bench, causing Brisbane's defence more headaches than any other forward on the park.
"Tariq can be really good in the middle, he tightens us up," said Green who has relegated Glenn Hall to his bench for Saturday.
"He can worry teams when he is carrying the football through the middle."
Green said the players were still very disappointed they didn't get the points against Brisbane.
"We just need to hold our nerve a bit longer and we'll be right," he said.
While the Warriors have a dreadful road record and had leaked 33 points a game in losses to Parramatta and St George-Illawarra, they would still have the Cowboys' respect. "I'm sure Matty Elliott will fire them up and the boys know what is coming there way," Green said.