NRL 2022: Melbourne Storm’s pursuit of St George Illawarra’s Tariq Sims hailed by Billy Slater

NRL

Melbourne legend Billy Slater has praised the mooted switch of Dragons back-rower Tariq Sims to the injury-ravaged Storm.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy confirmed in his post-match press conference on Saturday night that the Storm was interested in securing Sims, after co-captain Christian Welch suffered a season-ending Achilles rupture in a 26-16 win over Wests Tigers.

Melbourne on Saturday lost Welch, Brandon Smith (hand) and George Jennings (knee) in a dreadful night on the injury front.

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The Storm’s forward stocks will further deplete when Jesse and Kenny Bromwich, Felise Kaufusi and Smith depart the club at the end of the season.

Sims’ future at St George Illawarra is uncertain after the club told him late in the 2021 season that he was unlikely to have his contract extended beyond 2022 and that he was free to leave before its expiry.

The NSW State of Origin second-rower was then left out of the Dragons’ season-opening clash with the Warriors.

Speaking on new Wide World of Sports show Billy’s Breakdown, Slater said Sims would be “a huge inclusion” for Melbourne.

“He’s an Origin player, he’s an aggressive forward and I’m sure there’d be 15 other teams that’d want Tariq Sims on their books,” Slater said.

“If the space is available on the cap I’m sure the Storm would explore that.”

Stream the NRL premiership 2022 live and free on 9Now.

Slater described the Storm’s clash with the Tigers as “a cruel night injury-wise”.

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“We’ll have a bit of interest in a few players,” Bellamy had said in his post-match media conference.

“We’ve lost players … We’re not scraping the bottom of the barrel, but we’re getting towards that.

“We’re probably going to have to pull two or three players into the squad if (Welch and Jennings) are as serious as our medical team think they are … We’re going to have to find some extra players from somewhere.”

The Storm and Rabbitohs will open round two in Melbourne on Thursday night.

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