Blues forward Tariq Sims has admitted that he considered seeking a downgrade at tonight’s judiciary hearing in a bid to ensure he could play in next week’s Origin decider but chose to fight a dangerous contact charge because he believes he has done nothing wrong.
Sims will face the judiciary on Tuesday night after pleading not guilty to grade 2 dangerous contact for his tackle on North Queensland five-eighth Michael Morgan during last Friday night's 22-14 win and will lose his place in the NSW team if he is unsuccessful.
However, the St George Illawarra second-rower would have been free to play if he convinced the judiciary panel that the tackle was a grade one offence and received a 25 per cent discount for an early plea.
If he is found guilty, Sims can still seek a downgrade but he will no longer be entitled to the discount and will be suspended for one match for a grade one offence and three matches if the grade two charge is upheld.
The decision may cost him his spot on the interchange bench as well as his $30,000 Origin match payment but Sims is determined to clear his name.
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"We crossed all the boxes but I feel that I have done nothing wrong in this tackle so I have gone in there with a not guilty plea," Sims said on Tuesday.
"Obviously the charge has come out of the game and I am definitely going in there to fight it. I just have to keep a positive attitude and go in there in the right frame of mind. Hopefully I am going to come out of there with a decision in my favour."
Sims thanked NSW coach Brad Fittler for showing faith in him ahead of what is expected to be a marathon judiciary hearing at Rugby League Central on Tuesday night, with South Sydney prop George Burgess facing a lengthy ban for eye-gouging Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah.
Burgess, who has pleaded guilty to the ungraded offence, will front the tribunal ahead of Sims.
"If I said it wasn't a distraction I would probably be lying but it is going to be cleared up tonight," Sims said.
"It is something I have to deal with, we are going to go in there and hopefully come out with a positive result. I feel that I haven't done anything wrong so that's how I am going to go into it and approaching tonight.
"It's not the best, I'd rather not be dealing with it but they are the cards you have been dealt and there is no point dwelling on it and getting too hung up about it.
"I’ve got a fair bit of time to relax. It’s good to be back in camp with the lads so that is a nice distraction but come tonight I am going to be focused on getting off."
If Sims is suspended, Fittler is expected to recall Newcastle Test prop David Klemmer, who was a shock omission after only missing Origin II due to a fractured wrist.
Tariq Sims charged for tackle on Morgan
"As a player, seeing that sort of trust a coach has in you instils confidence and makes you want to play harder for your teammates and Freddy to pay him back," Sims said. "That means a lot to me personally and to my family."
After being called up by Fittler for his debut in last year's third match, which was a dead rubber after the Blues had already won the State of Origin Shield, Sims is hoping for the opportunity to help NSW to a series win.
"To be a part of this game and history, with just the thought of the crowd and seeing the fans there, it doesn't get much better than that," Sims said.
"As a kid these are the sort of games that you dream about, that you aspire to play in and contribute to hopefully what can be a series win.
"Last year I was part of one game and this year I am hopefully in a position to be a part of two games. Obviously, I want to wrap the series up with the boys so we will get through tonight and then hopefully I can do that."