Eleven months ago, Korbin Sims was reduced to tears as he left the field of an NRL 9s match with a broken arm.
It was the third time the then St George Illawarra star had suffered the same injury that had previously stopped him representing Fiji in the 2017 World Cup and had ruined his maiden season with St George in 2019.
Last year, the injury reduced him to just five appearances. He returned at the end of May and a few months later a calf injury ended his season early.
Injuries are horrible for players, both mentally and physically. Sims has worn protective padding on his arm through the start of pre-season training with Hull KR as a means of protection and for his peace of mind.
But he’s hopeful that with a new country comes a new rub of the green on the injury front, though he insists changing his playing style as a way of self-preservation isn’t an option.
“There’s obviously frustration there because it’s a pain in the arse really,” he says.
“What can you do? You can’t fix it straight away; it takes time to fix. It’s one of those things where it’s in the back of your mind but it won’t change the way I play.
“I try to play the game the hardest I can, the fastest I can and the best I can. If there’s an injury you have to work with it or around it and just get on with it.
“It is something that’s on my mind every now and again, but once the adrenaline is flowing, once the game starts you put it to the back of my mind and don’t think about it.”
On the heavy strapping that dons his arm, Sims says: “At the moment, especially in the colder climate, I can feel that my past injuries are starting to creep up again, so I’ve to maintain my body the best I can and just be smart getting into the flow of training with my recent injuries. If something isn’t right I’ll speak my mind, but if it’s just a niggle it’s I’ll work through it. But the pads will stay, just because that’s what I’ve done since the first one.
“I don’t want to let the team down by carrying an injury into a game or not getting through the season. So hopefully we all stay fit and put on a show.”
He pauses for thought when he’s asked what his mind frame was like as he was forced to sit on the sidelines. The thought of sitting out when your team-mates need you is galling for some players. For others, playing with an injury and feeling like they’ve not done their allies justice is worse.
“If you think you will let the team down, if you’re smart enough then you’ll speak up, but there are some out there whose psyche is so strong they put it out of their mind until their mission is done.
“I’m hoping this year that I’ll be able to put it to the back of my mind. We have coaching and training staff that are very professional, they’ve played the game before, they’re very smart and it’s up to the individual players how they set themselves up.”
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