FIRE DOUSED | After returning to finals action in 2015, the St George-Illawarra Dragons struggled un...
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Promising forward Ashton Sims has credited some sobering words of wisdom from Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett for his smashing start with his new NRL club.
The 23-year-old former Dragons forward always had a reputation.
But he believes he's now starting to play up to it more consistently with Bennett's early-season advice still ringing in his ears.
Hailing from Mick Cronin territory in Gerrigong in NSW, Sims has taken Bennett's comments about reaching his potential to heart.
His damaging form again in Friday night's 36-2 win over the Cowboys with 21 tackles - a number of them punishing shoulder hits - and 11 hit ups, was another step in the right direction to reaching his potential and playing representative football.
"I've set myself some personal challenges which I'm not going to go into." said Sims, who played the entire 80 minutes.
"I had a good talk with Wayne (Bennett) in the off-season about where I should be in my career.
"Where I think I should be at in my NRL career ... I'm not there yet."
Brisbane's group of forwards have formed an edict to work hard for each other.
Despite having prop Joel Clinton (knee) and Corey Parker (knee) out injured, they have already come up trumps in physical contests against Penrith the Roosters.
Friday night's scoreline may say otherwise, but the Cowboys pack dished out some heavy hits in the opening 20 minutes on Friday night.
"They were peppering our line for what seemed like a long time or it felt a long time," said Sims.
"A lot of the boys were out on their feet talking today about last night's game, especially that first 10 or 15 minutes."
Sims played down talk of taking over the role of Brisbane hitman following the departure of players like Petero Civoniceva and Brad Thorn.
"It was good to get some big hits in early and get the crowd into the game, you just feed off a crowd like 50,000 people.
"The boys get really vocal when they come off and and it's to know we're all on the same page and playing aggressively."
Sims admitted next weekend's showdown with defending premiers Melbourne at Olympic Park would be the "real" test for Brisbane's new look pack.
"They're the defending premiers, we're playing them on the home turf and it's probably going to be a cold night," Sims said.
"This is where we're definitely going to test ourselves.
"We had a good test against the Roosters and another one last night but I think the Storm are the benchmark of the competition."