IT might be only January but Brisbane prop Korbin Sims, from Gerringong, is already thinking about the NRL finals.
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Buoyed by a month of full contact training, Sims has his eyes firmly set on September action after recovering from a broken arm that had left his 2017 season in tatters.
Despite some anxious moments at pre-season training, Sims has gained confidence wearing a right-arm guard and is keen to tick the box which injury had denied him in an impressive 2017 debut season for the Broncos - playing finals footy.
After breaking his forearm a month out from last year's playoffs, Sims cut a frustrated figure as Brisbane threatened to go all the way before being knocked out in the preliminary final by eventual premiers Melbourne.
There was more disappointment to come.
Sims was picked for Fiji's Rugby League World Cup squad but missed the Bati's shock run to the semi-finals after medical staff discovered his arm had not recovered and he was released without playing a game.
"The first thing was missing finals - that was a big thing in me coming to the Broncos," said Sims, who was a late arrival last year from Newcastle.
"I was a bit dirty at the timing of the injury but that's football.
"And then missing the World Cup was a massive confidence downer for me."
However, Sims is still confident of breaking his Broncos finals duck in 2018, despite their pack being decimated by the off-season departures of New Zealand skipper Adam Blair, Herman Ese'ese and Jai Arrow.
"There is a lot of hunger in this new group," Sims told the Broncos' website.
"Wayne (Bennett) has really driven in the history of the club into this pre- season and I really do think we have the crew (to play finals)."
Sims hoped to be considered a pack leader after coming to terms with playing with an arm guard.
"With the young group that is coming through, I can be a leader now that the experience of Blairy has left," he said.
"For me, it's all about getting used to wearing a guard and getting back into contact.
"I have been back training for a while now and, the little collisions, I just have to be wary of.
"It was pretty tough for the first few weeks back and I sat out a few sessions.
"(But) I played pretty much the whole year last season so I know what to expect."
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