ST GEORGE-ILLAWARRA forward Tariq Sims admits he would love to play Super League one day – but not before he gets to run out with the “impeccable” James Graham in Dragons colours.
Fiji star Sims is set to face Hull FC in the international double-header game at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
This will see England prop Graham – one of the sport’s finest forwards – make his first appearance for the Dragons after moving there following a six-year stint with Canterbury Bulldogs.
Sims said: “It’s been unreal having Jamma with us.
“He’s my locker buddy. He has great locker etiquette. He’s very tidy for a big prop.
“I’ve had some previous locker buddies like Paul Vaughan, who tends to leave his dirty clothes everywhere.
“But Jamma is impeccable and a really nice guy. He still hasn’t got an Aussie accent yet and sometimes I do need sub-titles to understand what he’s talking about, but him and Gareth (Widdop) are in the same boat there.
“Jamma is a legend of a bloke, leads by example on and off the field, and just to see how he attacks training...
“If you’re a young bloke, you’d be excited to go shoulder to shoulder with him in training every day as those habits don’t just happen overnight.
“He’s learned those over years of playing in Super League and is now here doing his thing. I cant wait to run out with the big fella.”
Sims is a fan of Super League on tour in New South Wales, Wigan Warriors and Hull having played the first competition match in Australia last Saturday.
Wigan – who face South Sydney in the other part of this weekend’s double-header – prevailed 24-10 at WIN Stadium in Wollongong, more than 12,000 attending.
Sims said: “I think it’s outstanding – and this Saturday is a great opportunity. For us, being our first trial match, it’s an exciting prospect to run out against a Super League team.
“I’ve never actually played against a Super League side before and to get the opportunity to go out there and mix it up with their big boys is great.”
On possibly playing in Super League himself, he added: “I’d love to one day experience living over in a different country and playing with and against some great teams over there.
“But I’m only 27. I’ve a few years left in me here, hopefully, and once I think it’s time to go over to Super League I’d love to get over and shake it up.”
Sims’s brother Ashton is the former Warrington Wolves prop, who is now at Toronto Wolfpack.
He said: “He’s told me there’s some big, strong boys up front for Hull that don’t really take too much guff. I’m excited about the chance to face them.
“The only blokes I have played against before are the likes of Sika Manu and Mini (Mark Minichiello) when they were in the NRL so I’m pretty excited to see what the difference in footy styles are like.
“These are very exciting times and it’s great for the game; we need a bit more exposure of the Super League game and that all starts with this sort of thing.”
One Australian star who was a big hit in Super League was former Kangaroos loose-forward Craig Fitzgibbon.
The Sydney Roosters assistant coach earned legendary status as Hull captain in 2010 and 2011 before retiring,
He has relished being with his former club again during their tour of New South Wales – and only wishes he had been able to belt out Old Faithful one more time.
Former New South Wales State of Origin back-row Fitzgibbon was at the Wigan game and helped organise yesterday’s practice session between the Roosters and Hull.
FC’s Lance Todd trophy winner Marc Sneyd had the pleasure of a half-back master-class from Andrew Johns and also got to work with Cooper Cronk while winger Curtis Naughton enjoyed his first practice back for the club .
He had hoped to feature in the curtain-raiser Legends game between Hull and Wigan.
But Fitzgibbon explained: “I’d just been in New Zealand with the Roosters, only got back late in the ‘arvo’ and just in time for kick-off.
“It was really good, though, to see some English footy out here. It’s a slightly different style and there’s a whole host of players who are NRL-capable.
“It’s good to watch and – from the experience of being over there – having the English crowd here is a good experience for all the locals to mix in with all the English guys, to hear the singing and chants.
“It was great. I just wish I could have got in the sheds to sing Old Faithful with the boys – but it’s still been good just to catch up with everyone.”
Dave Craven is on tour with Hull FC in Australia in association with Ladbrokes.com