State of Mind: Ashton Sims

With all of his career being spent playing with teams such as St George Illawarra, Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys in the NRL, Ashton Sims never dreamed of a life on the other side of the world.

Following an enjoyable trip with the Fiji national side for the 2013 World Cup in England, Sims’ eyes were opened as to what life could be like playing and living in the northern hemisphere.

Therefore, when Warrington came calling for his services for 2015 and beyond, Sims took a decision he says he has not regretted since.

“I came over here in 2002 with the Australian schoolboy team,” Sims said.

“We had an up-and-down tour, it was freezing cold and I didn’t have any fun on that tour at all and I thought it wasn’t for me.

“But coming back in 2013 was brilliant with Fiji, I absolutely had the time of my life.

“We were based over in Bolton and I thought if I had the opportunity to come back over here to play I’d have a real red hot think about it.

“Then Warrington came calling a year later and I had a real good chat with my wife and it was the right time to cover over and I don’t regret it at all as I’ve had the time of my life.”

 It was a decision that Sims did not take lightly however, with a young family and wife to think about, and says it was something that took long consideration.

“It was a really tough decision to be honest with you,” he said.

“We had to consider a lot of things. My eldest was in primary school back in Australia and he had made a really good group of friends there along with other things, so we wrote down the pros and cons of making the move over here and the pros won in the end.

“It was a decision based on simply what we, my wife, kids and I, wanted to do. I moved away from where we are from in 2007 when I moved to the Brisbane Broncos. So we’ve been away from our family for eight/nine years now and we’re used doing stuff on our own and making friends and meeting new people.”

Walking into a new club brings a lot of challenges for any player, and even more so for someone still adapting to life in another country.

With that comes the challenge of moulding into the ways and methods of a new coach, and in Sims’ case, Tony Smith.

Sims however, says that his current head coach has been brilliant with him from day one and helped the settling in period for him and his family from the outset.

“The great thing about Tony is that not only is he a great coach but he is a great communicator,” he said.

 “He knows how hard it is for new players to come to the club, especially overseas players, and getting used to the style of play that the Super League offers.

We’ve had plenty of chats about that and the way he wanted me to play and instantly I knew that I didn’t really have to change my style that much as I enjoy getting out there and having a real hot go with my teammates and I’m loving it.”

“The lads warmed to me straight away, they gave me a bit of banter and I took a bit and then gave a bit back and its been great and I’ve made some friends for life.”

The 31-year old is also of the opinion that the State of Mind campaign is something that can really help rugby league people of all ages in the coming years.

“The State of Mind campaign is huge,” he said.

“I’ve played with some guys who have really struggled after rugby league and it’s so sad to hear. You see them and their big, macho rugby league players on the field but once rugby league has gone they feel there’s nothing left.

“It’s hard to see because they’re your mates and you want to help them in any way you can so I think what the State of Mind campaign is doing is great for rugby league players knowing that the support is out there should they feel they need it.”

With experience and age comes great responsibility for Sims, who says that he tries and sets the example for the younger players, whilst also trying to offer help and support to whoever he thinks needs it.

“I look it as a learning curve for me, on trying to teach the younger players on how to behave coming through as a rugby league player,” he said.

“I certainly try to lead by example, rugby league is not just about the 80 minutes we play on the weekend, it starts Monday morning, and you’ve got to be diligent and professional in everything.

“I try and give advice to our younger guys but also try and help out anyone in the squad in any way that I can because I believe it’s important to do that now.”

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