Newcastle’s Tariq Sims has been called up to the NSW squad as a reserve for next week’s State of Origin II, again highlighting the interstate series’ curious eligibility laws.
If injury strikes both the Blues and Queensland camps, Tariq could play against his brother Korbin who is a shadow player in the Maroons’ side for Origin II on Wednesday at the MCG.
Both Newcastle back-rowers were born in Gerringong, NSW, before the family moved to Queensland.
Tariq, 25, who is two years older than Korbin, played his first junior football in Gerringong. But his brother’s first junior football was played when the family moved north – that is why he qualifies to play for the Maroons.
Tariq was first drafted into the NSW squad under then coach Ricky Stuart as an 18th man in 2012, and was viewed by long-time NSW assistant Steve Roach as the future of the Blues’ forward pack before he twice broke his leg.
The former North Queensland forward, who has played five Tests for Fiji, has represented NSW Country four times and was a standout in the representative fixture in Wagga Wagga earlier this year.
A former Junior Kangaroo, Korbin has also played five Tests for Fiji. Both brothers are yet to make their State of Origin debuts.
Tariq has come into the NSW side for St George Illawarra’s Tyson Frizell, who has suffered a back injury.
One of South Sydney duo Alex Johnston or Dylan Walker are expected to come into the NSW side as a backline reserve after the Rabbitohs’ NRL clash with Wests Tigers on Friday.
NSW leave their Coffs Harbour base on Sunday to travel to Melbourne.