Sims declares Dragons finals contenders

After his first outing in the Red V, Tariq Sims has declared he’s seen enough to believe St George Illawarra are top eight contenders.

After a whirlwind 48 hours that saw him shift clubs and move his family 300km down the M1, the former Newcastle co-captain ran out for his first appearance with the Dragons in their dour 20-10 defeat of a depleted Melbourne at WIN Stadium on Saturday night.

Sims was granted an early release by the Knights on Thursday, arrived in Wollongong and ran with the side during Friday’s captain’s run and pulled on his new colours on Saturday.

Being forced to live in a one-bedroom hotel room with his wife and two young kids while he finds more permanent accommodation in his new city, Sims’ head had barely stopped spinning as he reflected on a tumultuous few days post-match.

“It’s been very busy, long days and long nights getting used to the way the boys get around the paddock,” Sims said.

“I’d like to think I applied myself pretty well and I chipped in.

“I didn’t know (he would be released on Thursday) and when the green light was given, it all happened really quickly.”

Following his first up performance for Paul McGregor’s side, he showed enough to suggest he shapes as a handy mid-season buy after coming off the bench and carting the ball for 112m from 13 carries and making 17 tackles in 31 minutes.

The Dragons have been scratchy at best this year, and were ordinary against a Melbourne side missing Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith, Blake Green and Cameron Munster. But they temporarily jumped back into the eight with a valuable two points against the ladder leaders which keeps them right in finals contention.

“Absolutely we’re a top eight team. With the talent that we’ve got, we can definitely defend, and we can score some points,” Sims said.

“So the longer we stay together and get that camaraderie and gel together as a pack, we’re going to make some really big strides forward.”

The Dragons are likely to receive a boost next week with fullback Josh Dugan expected to return from an elbow injury which scratched him from the opening two matches of the State of Origin series.

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