Alicia Newton, nrl.com.au
Another lot of firsts will be chalked up by the Sims household this weekend with Fijian prop Korbin set to captain the men’s side and big sister CJ in line to make her international debut.
Korbin will go into Saturday afternoon’s Pacific Test match against Lebanon as the Bati’s second-most capped NRL player, with several stars missing through Origin and injury.
The 27-year-old’s main focus over the past 12 months has been chasing a State of Origin debut with Queensland but for now he’ll have to bide his time back in the Fiji setup.
The Bati will field only nine players in their squad with international experience.
“There’s a lot of pride and passion that go into these games,” Sims told NRL.com.
“Someone like Daniel Saifiti has really kicked on over the past 12 months playing well for the Newcastle Knights and it’s a credit to him.
“He’s stuck at it and has been rewarded with his first jersey. Any time you come back and be around these Bati boys they keep you grounded and give you a focus.”
“I’m still adjusting on the field coming off my career in gridiron and it’s really hard. The fitness is the hardest part, being a big girl it has never been my strongest point but something I work hard on.
“Everything is very different but I’m still learning.”
The women’s outfit features Fiji-based players with rugby sevens background and is coached by Adrian Vowles.
CJ Sims doesn’t have to look far for advice when it comes to rugby league.
The third of five children, CJ is openly the family’s least experienced sibling in rugby league but gets the chance to represent Fiji on Saturday in a first for the family.
Sister Ruan won’t play in the international against the Orchids but will be in attendance, ready to commentate on Korbin’s game a few hours later in the double-header men’s fixture.
The Sims clan are always around during representative commitments with Korbin, Ashton and Tariq all playing for the Bati side over the past decade.
“To be part of the first women’s team and play an established team like the PNG Orchids is an absolute honour,” CJ told NRL.com.
“And just to be able to spend the week with Korbin is special, it’s a long time between drinks sometime with my family. Korbin moved back home last year and I’m the only one in Brisbane now.
Korbin Sims believes having the women’s Fiji side play before the men’s fixtures were a huge boost for the nation.
“Anytime you represent your country you are grateful for family around you and it will be no different for her on Saturday. They’ll be able to experience the same passion,” Korbin said.
“CJ is going well, she’s taken her time in the game and it will be her first major jersey in the code and it will be good to be able to catch some of her game beforehand.
“Now the women’s game has taken off in the last couple of years, to have the national side it’s exciting.”