GERRINGONG product Ashton Sims' strong Fijian heritage and background inspired him to come and represent the Vodafone Fiji Bati and the people of Fiji in rugby league at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
Sims made his debut for Fiji in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup and since then his desire became stronger for the Fiji Bati jumper.
"It has always been a proud moment to represent Fiji and I am very proud of my Fijian heritage and I am always the first one to put my hands up for selection for the Fiji Bati team," Sims said.
"It is very special to be in the squad and it means a lot to me when playing for the team.
"As a young kid in 2008, now I am a lot more experienced and I can be an example to the younger generations with my the experience.
"We have some very good talented Fijian players coming through the ranks and it is good to see some of the players who we played with in 2008 in the squad with a lot of National Rugby League (NRL) experience now.
"It was a massive sense of pride when I was told that I was selected in the Fiji Bati side and to get another chance to wear the national Fiji Bati jersey is a bonus and I am proud of it.”
Sims said players were getting ready to create history.
"I have a beautiful wife and four children and I have maternal links to Ba and they will be coming to watch us play,” he said.
On Saturday, it is going to be a special occasion where I will play two 40-minute matches against two different teams.
"Australia and Papua New Guinea are two strong sides and the Kangaroos are the world champion and we have to be on our game and make sure our preparation is there to match them.
"We had a great time in Australia and England in the previous world cups in 2008 and 2013 and we have created very close bonds with the team members and we have been together for a while and we will work hard for each other."
Sims will be joined in the Fijian side by brother Korbin and Group 7 product James Storer.