Newcastle Knights enforcer Tariq Sims is set to play his fifth Country v City Origin game this weekend, and is as excited as ever to pull on the maroon, yellow and white jersey.
With the likes of Danny Buderus, Andrew Johns and Timana Tahu having played for the side in years gone by, Sims is well aware of the legacy he will continue.
“To be a part of this and see the blokes that have worn this jersey before us is special,” he said.
“I do look at this as a big game, I just want to make sure that I go out there and do my job to the best of my ability.”
With the game taking place in Tamworth this year, the Country Origin camp has made themselves at home in the regional centre 300 kilometres north-west of Newcastle.
“It’s been great, everyone in town is very happy and helpful,” Sims explained.
“Country people are always going to be country people, they love the concept and to be able to take a game out to the bush has been amazing.”
The Country team that has been selected is typically robust, with regular NSW players James Maloney and Boyd Cordner starting.
Added to that are Origin hopefuls such as Jarrod Croker and Tyson Frizell, as well as the Knights’ own Sims.
“The boys are in high spirits, as soon as we got on the field together it was like slipping into an old shoe,” Sims said.
“To rub shoulders with these blokes, pick their brains and to get to train with them all week is awesome.
“Everyone’s getting along like a house on fire. Everyone’s keen to chip in and help out, and they’re a bunch of larrikins.”
The game clearly means a lot to the Country players as well, as Sims pointed out. “I think we’ve only had one bloke pull out through injury, so it goes to show how much this means to country people.”
The Country v City game takes place at 4pm on Sunday.