Newcastle Knights forward Tariq Sims is ready to tackle his former Club, the North Queensland Cowboys, on his new home turf this Saturday.
While the Knights have already defeated the side in Round 2, it will be the first time the second rower will play the team after serving a suspension at the start of the season.
“I’m excited and have prepared to the best of my ability,” Sims told the media after the Knights final training run before Saturday’s blockbuster ANZAC Day match.
“I just want to get out there and mix it up.”
The 25-year-old offers valuable insight into the Townsville based team gained from his three-year stint with the Club.
“We have a big game this weekend coming up against a red-hot Cowboys side,” he said.
“They are a well-structured team and are coached by a good bunch of blokes up there.
“They all find and know their role really well on the field.
“It’s going to make for a great game and I know we are excited to play against them and I know a couple from up there are too.”
While talk leading into the match has centered heavily around Newcastle’s Round 2 victory over the Cowboys and the opposition’s search for revenge, Sims says he’s unaffected by the hype surrounding the re-match.
“They are obviously going to be keen to get down here and we are just going to go out there and play a game of footy,” he said.
He admits the Knights have failed to play to their potential since the four wins that kicked off the season, which he sees as all the more reason to strive for success in front of a home crowd.
“We are staring down the barrel of three losses and it’s not something that we are proud of. It’s something that we’re trying to turn around,” he said.
“We are in a bit of a rut at the moment and it’s going to take a full team effort to turn it around.
“Personally I think I’m right where I need to be. I’m playing the right amount of minutes, I’m doing the right amount of work, it’s just opportunity.
“Anyone that’s been watching us play lately knows we haven’t had the best opportunity in their half, so we need to turn that around.
“It’s been pretty tough and the first game was, with the weather… a middle sort of a game and the second game we were tackling the whole game.
“Last week it was a bit of a disappointing run for a team as a whole, so I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to putting our best foot forward this weekend and show what we really have.
Like his teammates Kade Snowden said, the Knights intend to draw motivation and encouragement from the fact so many in the Hunter have experienced hardship after an intense storm battered the region this week.
“It’s been a tough week this week with the floods, so we want to get out there and put our best foot forward to turn it around at home. We have to start icing all of our home games," Sims said.
“The fans just need to stick with us. We just really want to go out there and show the fans what we can do, especially after a really tough week.
“There’s been a lot of water over the last couple of days and a lot of people affected. We want to make sure we are doing them proud while they are doing it tough."
Further inspiration will come from the match being played on ANZAC Day and the 100 year anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli.
“We’ve had a couple of soldiers come and have a chat to us about what their life is like in the forces, so that was very inspirational," he said.
“I’m excited to go to the dawn service in the morning. I went last year up North, they have a big army barracks and I know how awesome it is.
“It’s something that we have to make sure we are managing, it’s an early start and an early game too.
“You want to make sure you’re preparing the best you can for a massive game.
“This weekend, the least we can do is go out there and show what we have."
Saturday April 25 – Round 8
Newcastle Knights v North Queensland Cowboys
Gates open: 11am
ANZAC Ceremony: 1.45pm
Venue: Hunter Stadium
Tickets: CLICK HERE