Tariq Sims is back!
And he couldn’t be more eager to start his 2016 season after serving a five-week suspension.
“I’m very excited to pull a jersey back on. I’m itching to get back out there and rumble it up with the boys,” the joint Newcastle Knights captain said on Tuesday.
"We have some new faces and some great young talent coming out of the woodwork.
"To be a part of that and help lead the boys, and to be a calmer head amongst the boys, I’m looking forward to getting involved."
While unable to take the field, the Knights enforcer has shown an unrelenting attitude at training to ensure he’s at his fittest and ready for Sunday’s Round 6 match against Wests Tigers at Hunter Stadium.
“I have had big conditioning sessions where I would do the most defensive work, because that’s when I’m at my worst fatigue,” he said.
“During fatigue, that’s when we make silly decisions.
“If I can stay on top of that I’ll move forward. I’m excited to put those days behind me and focus on the season.”
Watching on from the sidelines has been a frustrating endeavor for Sims, but he now hopes his return will add spark to the team after a lackluster start to the season.
“It’s frustrating at times but you have to look past that,” he said.
“It has been tough and I know what the boys go through day in day out.
“We haven’t been able to string a consistent 80 minutes together.
“We need to really put games to bed and learn how to compete for 80 minutes."
Limiting mistakes is at the top of the Knights agenda after last weekend’s loss against the Melbourne Storm.
Sims says he’s well aware of the need to uphold the highest level of discipline.
“We all have to be accountable on the field,” he said.
“I have to make sure I am as squeaky clean as I can be and make sure I’m doing a job for the team, because if I’m sitting on the sideline, I’m letting not only the Club down but my teammates.
“We haven’t really handed in a solid 80-minute performance.
“There are some lapses in concentration I think I can really help with."
After Saturday’s missed opportunity against the Storm, the side has closely assessed the performance to ensure the same mistakes don’t appear this Sunday.
“We’ve had a good honest assessment of that game and have spent two hours looking at it and reviewing it,” he said.
“Tomorrow morning we are going to be out there first thing making sure we’re working on the little parts of the game where we’ve been shooting ourselves in the foot with knock-ons, silly penalties or just making the wrong decisions in general.
“We are definitely going in the right direction, we just have to do it for the full 80.”
Noting Wests Tigers strong start to the season, Sims says his main focus will fall on defence
"I think they are a great outfit…we are going to be kept on our toes this week,” he said.
"I’m going to be focusing on the defence.
“I’m going to try to bring as much controlled aggression as I can towards the Tigers.
“I’m going to try to lead the boys and compete for the full 80 minutes.”
Buy your ticket now for Voice for Mining Family Day when the Knights take on Wests Tigers at Hunter Stadium!
Gates open: 11.15am
Reserve grade: 11.30