Newcastle Knights forward Tariq Sims is gearing up for a blockbuster match against the Manly Sea Eagles at Hunter Stadium on Monday.
In what is already a special occasion falling on ANZAC Day, the game will also feature the 200th game milestone for joint captain Jeremy Smith.
“Having someone like Jeremy Smith in your team is pretty special. He’s been a pillar for the Newcastle Knights for such a long time,” Sims said on Friday.
“Jez brings a lot of mental toughness and physical toughness.
“He does a lot of things you probably wouldn’t pick up watching on the TV.
"He is genuinely a war house and does the tough stuff that other blokes shy away from and that’s really inspirational for someone like me.
"This weekend playing on ANZAC Day and his 200th game is something very special.”
Sims feels a sense of pride and privilege to take the field at Hunter Stadium on ANZAC Day for the second year in a row.
“We should all consider ourselves lucky to be playing on such a tremendous day,” he said.
“It’s such a great day and last year we were lucky enough to play on the same day.
“This year to go around and play it again with in those great jerseys that we have and play our arch rivals, Manly, it’s going to be a tremendous day."
Sims says the Knights are prepared for a fiery match against Manly and are determined to turn their home turf into a fortress.
“They are travelling really well,” he said about the opposition.
“Dylan Walker and Apisai (Koroisau) are really doing a job in the halves there.
“They have a great forward pack.”
The Knights are also eager for redemption after last weekend’s heavy loss to the Brisbane Broncos.
“We need to completely forget about last week. We have done our video and taken the pointers we need to take away from it, negative and positive.
“We need to make sure we go into this game with a clear headspace and thinking that we can win this game because we really can.”
The fact the three injured players, Jarrod Mullen, Nathan Ross and Tyler Randell are shaping up well to take the field will be a positive for the side according to the joint-captain.
“They were rested early in the week and trained really well out here today so don’t think they’ll miss a beat,” he said
“It’s up to the Club doctor and themselves whether they feel like they are up to it.
“They are pretty key positions being halfback, a hooker and a winger."
This week’s addition of Peter Mata’utia, brother to Knights Sione, Chanel and Pat creates x-factor in the team.
“It’s definitely a full house,” he said about the recent signing.
“He has slipped into the squad like an old boot.
“He trained really well out there today and was really sharp with the hands picking up on the plays pretty quickly."
The fact there are now eight brothers in total in the squad is something that Sims believes is an advantage for the Club.
“It’s one of things where you can’t really explain it. You have to watch the sibling rivalry out there. It definitely brings the best out in us,” he said.
“Korbin definitely pushes me and I push him to his limits.
“You could see today there was already a bit of banter between the brothers.
“It’s driving and taking the team towards where we want it to be.”
Monday April 25 – Round 8
Newcastle Knights v Manly Sea Eagles
Gates open: 11.30am
ANZAC Ceremony: 1.50pm
Venue: Hunter Stadium
Tickets: CLICK HERE
Game day information: CLICK HERE
ANZAC jersey: CLICK HERE