Tariq Sims Sims given first chance at St George Illawarra's vacant back-row position

Dragons' Tariq Sims. Photo: Craig Golding

Dragons' Tariq Sims. Photo: Craig Golding

ST George Illawarra Dragons coach Paul McGregor has named his mandatory 21-man squad to face the Brisbane Broncos this Thursday, March 8 at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah – which includes Gerringong’s Tariq Sims.

The Dragons will kick-off at 7:50pm with the Graeme Langlands public tribute to start the night's proceedings at 6:45pm.

St George Illawarra will also retire the number one jumper on Thursday in honour of the recently passed immortal Langlands.

Dragons fullback Matt Dufty will don the number18 jumper against the Broncos in honour of who he described as his most famous Red V predecessor.

"Changa was probably the best fullback the club has had so dedicating our round one game to him is something the boys and I are really happy to get behind," Dufty said.

"Obviously it will be a special day for the St George area where he played and for the Illawarra where he was born and raised.

"Overall, the boys are ready to start ripping in and see where the season takes us."

Tariq Sims has won the battle for the vacant back row spot left by Joel Thompson, with Luciano Leilua named on the bench alongside fellow local junior Hame Sele.

Josh Kerr and Zac Lomax have been named in the reserves and could potentially make their NRL debuts if named in coach McGregor's final 17.

Veteran duo Ben Hunt and James Graham will make their Dragons debuts.

Dragons squad to play Broncos: 18. Matthew Dufty, 2. Nene Macdonald, 3. Euan Aitken, 4. Tim Lafai, 5. Jason Nightingale, 6. Gareth Widdop (c), 7. Ben Hunt, 8. James Graham, 9. Cameron McInnes, 10. Paul Vaughan, 11. Tyson Frizell, 12. Tariq Sims, 13. Jack De Belin, 14. Luciano Leilua, 15. Kurt Mann, 16. Leeson Ah Mau, 17. Hame Sele, 19. Jeremy Latimore, 20. Zachary Lomax, 21. Blake Lawrie and 22. Joshua Kerr.