Newcastle’s NRL season is poised to descend further into chaos, with co-captain Tariq Sims expected to announce a mid-season shift to St George Illawarra on Tuesday.
With the last-placed Knights firming to finish with the wooden spoon with just one win and a draw from the opening 11 rounds, Sims will line up for the club against Parramatta on Monday night before confirming a switch to the Dragons the next day.
“There’ll be an announcement tomorrow on Tariq’s direction going forward,” Sims’ manager Scott Hill told AAP.
Sims had until Monday to take up an option to stay with Newcastle for 2017, but according to Knights club legend Matthew Johns, the 26-year-old has made the call.
“He told the players after the training session that the Knights game against Parramatta will be his last for Newcastle,” Johns told the Triple M Grill Team.
The Knights had originally tabled a new deal to keep him at the club for a longer period of time, but withdrew the offer as Newcastle’s struggles worsened.
“They wanted to just leave that one year there for him to play for the next contract,” Hill said.
“All players think differently, a lot of players like to have that bit of security which is understandable.
“He’s got a young family and a lot of other commitments outside of his football as a father and as a provider and every player and every person is looking for security at that time of their career.”
Sims, who has played five Tests for Fiji and was 18th man for NSW in last year’s Origin decider, is an Illawarra junior who grew up in the South Coast town of Gerringong before he was signed by Brisbane at age 16.
He still has some family in the region, which is believed to be a factor in his decision.
The Knights have already lost fellow back-rower Joseph Tapine in an early-season move to Canberra, while coach Nathan Brown has also been forced to blood a host of new players due to injury and suspension this season.