As the Newcastle Knights approach arguably one of the biggest tests they’ll face at home this season, the Sydney Roosters, forward Tariq Sims believes the team must unite.
“This weekend we’ve all got to be pulling towards one direction and that’s the main thing,” he said after Tuesday’ training session.
“If we stick together we’ll hopefully tough it out.”
Sims foresees a considerable task for the Knights up front, particularly with a number of players in their pack sidelined through injury.
“I personally think the Cowboys and the Roosters are the benchmark of the NRL at the moment,” he said.
“It’s going to be a big test for our big boys.
“They have a really good platform that the big boys lay and some good leaders there and some awesome strike power out wide, but we’re going to make sure we’re doing our best to get out there and compete.
“We have to make sure we’re not taking a backwards step and the boys roll forward and are good at their job.”
While the Knights were overcome by the St George Illawarra Dragons on Sunday, Sims saw positive signs the Knights intend to work on in the lead up to the Round 22 match.
“Possession is a big thing in the game and I thought in the first half we controlled it pretty well,” he said.
“In the second half it dropped right off and the Dragons were too good and made us pay.
“We are not going out there to lose games. Sometimes we might be our worst enemy.
“We have to make sure we stay focused and compete for 80 minutes.”
Sims is keen to make a return to the line-up after an ongoing shoulder injury forced him out last weekend.
“I was disappointed I couldn’t play. As a player you want to play every game, but Bedsy advised me I have the week off and rest up for the last five games of the season,” he said.
Meanwhile, he offered a glowing appraisal of Lachlan Fitzgibbon who made his first grade debut at Jubilee Oval.
It was a baptism of fire for the 21-year-old who experienced the intensity and speed of playing and defending in the middle.
“It’s a tough learning curve,” he said.
“If you talk to Fitzy (Fitzgibbon), he was on top of the world, but he was exhausted because he’s never experienced anything like that before."
A good sign for Sims has been the enthusiasm and drive shown by his teammates in the lead up to matches.
“We are doing our best and are training as if we’re going to be playing the next day, which I think is really good,” he said.