Broncos want revenge on tough-talking Tariq
The Broncos are bracing for more trash talk from Tariq Sims following revelations the Dragons hitman sledged Brisbane last year and taunted rookie forward David Fifita by calling him "Tarzan".
The Courier-Mail can reveal Sims revelled in getting under Brisbane's skin with the NSW Origin star verbally attacking Broncos players during the Dragons' stunning 48-18 finals massacre at Suncorp Stadium last September.
Sims produced the greatest performance of his 157-game career in the Broncos-Dragons elimination final, scoring a hat-trick to send Brisbane crashing out of the title race.
Now Sims returns to the scene of his finals cameo determined to replicate the physical and mental disintegration of a Broncos side banking on their young forwards to handle a quality Dragons pack.
One boom Broncos rookie, Fifita, hasn't forgotten Sims' sledging tactics. Playing in just his 11th top-grade game last year, Fifita marked-up against Sims, who attempted to mess with the 18-year-old's head by labelling him "Tarzan" during their back-row battle.
The 108kg Fifita will again be required to halt the hard-running Sims tonight and Broncos coach Anthony Seibold challenged his forward unit to win the midfield as the Dragons look to snap a two-game losing streak.
"I do think Tariq is a real weapon for them on our right edge," Seibold said.
"He is their left-edge back-rower and was outstanding in that semi-final performance last year.
"We have made some subtle changes to how we defend and would like to think we'll be a bit more aggressive there on the edges.
"It is one thing to see things on the video and make changes, but a lot more difficult under the bright lights of Suncorp Stadium and doing it.
"If you look at their first two games they have been particularly strong in the first half, so we can't stick the toe in ... we have to dive all the way in and that starts with our forward pack.
"We know what weapons they are going to bring. Our right edge has a big challenge of handling Tariq."
Queensland coach Kevin Walters is watching Fifita closely. The backrower scored the opening try of last year's semi-final before limping off with an ankle injury and says he is ready to stand up to Sims' verbal and physical intimidation.
"Tariq talked it up aggressively as well," Fifita said.
"He was sledging us because they were winning on the scoreboard. He was rubbing it in our faces.
"We've spoken about it about Tariq coming down our side, but me, Kodi (Nikorima), 'Jimmy' (James Roberts) and Jamayne (Isaako) have trained well this week and we know what is coming on game day.
"Tariq is a good player, he is aggressive and I like to come up against aggressive people, he is a second-rower and I'm a second-rower.
"I've learnt from my experiences last year so it's a challenge I'm ready for."