Black ‘ Knight’ denies dream debut
AS far as debuts go, this one could have gone better to script.
Not to worry for Tariq Sims, who played his first game of NRL footy on Saturday night after coming off the Cowboys interchange bench just before halftime.
His brother Ashton was by his side for the big moment and parents Peter and Jacquie were in the stands watching on, but despite Tariq’s best efforts the Cowboys could not overturn a 16-6 halftime deficit to earn back-to-back wins.
Nonetheless the 21-year-old former NYC player of the year said the sensation of having his first run in an NRL game was one he’d never forget.
‘‘ It was unreal, just running out in front of the home crowd was unbelievable,’’ Sims said.
‘‘ Then again it was sort of a scrappy game at the end but it was a great experience and I loved every minute of it.’’
‘‘ I felt that I was all right, I felt pretty good with the pace of the game.’’
Tariq and Ashton’s younger brother Korbin, 19, played in the game’s NYC curtain-raiser for the under-20 Knights.
The three brothers and their parents caught up for lunch following the Cowboys’ training session yesterday for a family reunion of sorts before Tariq and Ashton launched themselves on what promises to be a no-nonsense week of training.
‘‘ Obviously the effort that we put in ( against Newcastle) wasn’t good enough and we’re going to have to turn things around if we’re going to beat Melbourne up here,’’ Tariq said.
‘‘ We did have a bit of a slow week but we’ve got no excuses, the effort that we put in last night was unacceptable so we’re just going to have to turn around and do it all again next week.’’
While big brother Ashton has offered plenty of advice to Tariq throughout his career there was only so much he could provide in the hours leading up to Saturday night’s match.
‘‘ I think he ( Ashton) was on the field in the second half and he gave me a few words of advice just before the game just to play the game and do what I do well,’’ Tariq said.
‘‘ It was just words of encouragement and just to rip in and have a go.’’
After receiving the call-up to the Cowboys squad in midweek, Sims said the suddenness of his debut had caught him by surprise.
‘‘ I’m just a late bloomer I suppose so it doesn’t faze me, as long as I’m playing footy doing what I do and love,’’ he said. ‘‘ Hopefully I can stay injury free and establish myself in the NRL.’’