Korbin Sims predicts they’ll be a lot of pride on the line in the Fijian Bati’s encounter with the Papua New Guinea Kumuls on the Gold Coast on Saturday.
The Newcastle Knight is set to pull on the Fijian jersey again after making a name for himself on the international stage in the representative side’s 2013 World Cup campaign and the Pacific Rugby League test last year.
“I’m always proud to represent Fiji. When Rick Stone said we were added into the Pacific Nations Cup, I jumped at the opportunity,” he said.
“I was probably one of the first to put their hands up.
“There’s a lot of pride on the line. We are playing another proud nation in PNG and they are going to come out really hard.
“They have a lot of pride in their background to the game as well.”
Sims says returning to camp this week has been a pleasure as he knows most of the squad already from his previous representative games.
“We’ve all got a pretty close knit bond coming off the May test last year against Samoa and the 2013 World Cup which was a great success for us,” he said.
“With the new faces in the team, it’s just as enjoyable because everyone gets along really easily.
“It doesn’t feel like anyone is getting left out.
“That’s where it kind of differ from an NRL game where you have to prepare week in week out.
“This is just a week camp and we have to get to know a lot of new faces and everyone has to be on the same page and have the same structure.
“It’s always a bit tougher coming into games like this, but you take the opportunity and you just run with it."
Sims is joined by Fijian debutants Daniel and Jacob Saifiti who play with the NYC Knights and says he’s been happy to take on a mentor role with the twin brothers while in camp.
“We haven’t had a chance to hang out before this week’s camp. It’s been good getting to know them the last couple of days and for them to be a part of the team,” he said.
“It’s their first chance of having a crack in a Fiji jersey, so hopefully they will take it with both hands and do their country proud.”
What makes the challenge of gelling with new teammates easier for the 23-year-old is the fact the representative side is led by Newcastle Knights coach, Rick Stone.
Stone has shared an affiliation with the Fijian Bati in a coaching capacity for some time now and is highly respected among the Fijian rugby league community.
“It’s pretty easy for me. We had Rick in the 2013 World Cup and we had a lot of success there,” he said.
“Stoney bought into the Fijian community and the Fijian vibe we had around the team and he is just so blown away with how much support Fijians actually have around the world.
“It’s pretty easy to see Stoney slot in because he’s such a wonderful coach. Having him as the Fijian coach is probably the right choice for us.”
As with any emotion filled contest, Sims expects Saturday’s match to be a tough clash.
“It’s going to be a physical battle. The forwards on both sides are big strong dudes,” he said.
“Everyone is going to try to make a really good play.
“I reckon the backs and going to be exciting as well.
“We have a lot of excitement in our back line. In saying that, it’s just going to be one of those physical games.
“PNG is going to come out and they are going to be nice and strong.
“We just have to better them in our skill component and our toughness as well.
The weekend will be a monumental one for the Sims family.
Korbin’s older brother and Knights teammate Tariq is set to impress in the Country Origin side’s match against City on Sunday while their older sister Ruan will represent in the Australian Jillaroos side in for the 2015 ANZAC Test curtain raiser against the Kiwi Ferns at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
“My family is very well represented this weekend which is awesome to see,” he said.
“My Mum is always proud of us playing for Fiji because she was born in Fiji and Dad is just proud of us for how we’ve been representing our family over the last few years,” he said.
The Fijian Bati will put the finishing touches on their preparation with a Captain’s Run training session on Friday where Sims says they’ll narrow down the final game plan and have a run through.
“That’ll be the final chance on the field until we go into battle against the Kumuls,” he said.
1. Kevin Naiqama, 2. Marika Koroibete, 3. Fabian Goodall, 4. Brayden Wiliame, 5. Eto Nabuli, 6. Darryl Millard, 7. Ryan Millard, 8. Eloni Vunakece, 9. Apisai Koroisau, 10. Daniel Saifiti, 11. Jason Bukuya, 12. Jacob Saifiti, 13. Korbin Sims. Interchange: 14. Tyrone Phillips, 15. Viliame Kikau, 16. Tikio Koke, 17. Osea Sadrau, 18. Timoci Ratulolo Dabea.