The St George Illawarra Dragons have acquired former Bronco Lachlan Maranta for the upcoming season and secured back-rower Tariq Sims, who re-signed with the club for a further three seasons.
Sims, the reigning Dragons Player of the year recipient who was out of contract at the end of 2019, will now stay with the club until at least the end of the 2022 season.
The local Gerringong junior missed only one NRL game for the 2018 season and made his long-awaited State of Origin debut for New South Wales in Game Three.
Sims was pleased to remain at the club, where he has been since midway through the Dragons’ 2016 campaign.
“The Dragons has always been a club I’ve wanted to play for and represent being from Gerringong. To have the chance to extend my time with this special playing group, it was too good an opportunity to go anywhere else,” Sims told the club website.
“Mary (Paul McGregor) is a coach I’ve always wanted to play for and he has always wanted to coach me, which was very important when I first came to the Dragons. I’d like to think I’ve taken my opportunities here at the club with both hands.”
“The goals is always winning a premiership, but I can’t wait to help develop the players coming through,” Sims added.
“To see some of these young kids kick on in their careers from the under-20s to the NRL in the coming years will be a real highlight.”
Dragons list manager Ian Millward said Sim’s retention was crucial in helping the Dragons maintain one of the best forward packs in the NRL.
“There’s a lot of things we like about Tariq on the field, but there’s also plenty of things we like about him off it. He’s a real leader and will be a great mentor for some of our young players,” Millward said.
“Tariq personifies personality and commitment, and what he does around the club on and off the field is enormous. His enthusiasm is infectious and his standing in the game at present is very important to our club.”
“He’s also a very crucial piece of the jigsaw, locking him in long-term, along with (Jack) de Belin, (Tyson) Frizell, (Paul) Vaughan and (James) Graham.”
The Dragons have also signed former Brisbane Broncos outside back Lachlan Maranta to a one-year deal.
Maranta has played 70 NRL games to date, and has spent the past two years at Super Rugby outfit, Queensland Reds.
“Lachlan has played plenty of NRL games over a period of five seasons, in that period he was versatile, he played the wing, fullback and a couple of centre positions. He’s proven so far to be a really good person who trains well, and he’ll bring experience to the squad,” Millward said.
“Mitch Allgood is an example in the sense of Lachlan’s signing, in terms of Mitch’s influence on the squad over the past 12 months. Both Mitch and Lachlan have played a similar amount of NRL games, and have the experience to play first grade if required.”
“He’s not a replacement for Kurt Mann nor a replacement for Nene Macdonald, we were looking for an experienced squad member.”
“We think he’s going to be a great addition he’s going to bring a lot of enthusiasm with all his experience in not only Rugby League but Rugby Union.” Millward said.
Maranta’s signing sees him among the likes of Korbin Sims, Mikaele Ravalawa, Eddie Blacker, Lachlan Timm and Jonus Pearson to have joined the Red V ahead of the 2019 season.
The re-signing of Sims follows the likes of Cameron McInnes, Zac Lomax, Jeremy Latimore, Luciano Leilua, Matt Dufty, Josh Kerr, Joe Lovodua and Jordan Pereira to have also extended their stay with the Dragons over the past 12 months.