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NRL News: Grand Final forecast has NRL sweating, Sims to Dragons with epic reveal

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27th September, 2023
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The NRL is getting hot under the collar ahead of Sunday’s Grand Final, with forecasts now holding that the temperature at Accor Stadium could be as high as 38 degrees ahead of the three scheduled games.

The potential for extreme temperatures has been known all week, but as the day itself moves closer and forecasts become more accurate, the league may be forced to act.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) had been suggesting a maximum of 35 for Sunday, but other providers are now revising that upwards, with 38 in the afternoon according to Weatherzone and 37 on AccuWeather.

Should the forecasts hold true, the NRL will institute two water breaks – essentially turning the games into four quarters rather than two halves – and could even go as far as knocking the kick off time back on the earlier games.

As it stands, there is a near two-hour gap between the conclusion of the NRLW Grand Final and the kick off in the NRL Grand Final, with time allotted for the pre-game show, national anthems and retiring players parade, but all could be moved or sped up if it avoids extreme heat in the games.

The State Championship between the NSW Cup and Q Cup Premiers South Sydney and Easts Tigers is currently scheduled for 1.20pm.

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Such changes are not without precedent: the World Club Challenge was moved back from an early evening kickoff to a night game to avoid extreme heat in February – and was, ironically, played amid a lightning storm – while two weeks later, the Bulldogs v Tigers match at Belmore narrowly avoided becoming the first regular season fixture to be moved due to excessive temperatures.

Sims to Dragons with epic reveal

Tariq Sims is back with the Dragons – though on the other side of the world, having announced a deal with the Catalans for 2024.

The Fiji and Origin backrower, who had a late season renaissance with Melbourne after failing to make first grade squads at the start of the year, will move to the South of France on a two-year deal.

“I’m excited to add to the team my experience and what I’ve learnt over the past 13 years in the NRL,” he said.

“My desire to compete and challenge myself both on and off the field is motivating to me, and I believe being at the Catalans will do that.

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“It’ll be a new chapter for myself and my family, but we are very excited for it.”

His announcement with Els Dracs dropped on Twitter last night, with the club leaning heavily into his surname with a video based on The Sims, the video game.

With the departure of Tariq, 2024 will be the first Sims-less season since 2003, when older brother Ashton made his NRL debut for St George Illawarra.

Since then, four Sims have played first grade: Ashton, Tariq, Korbin and sister Ruan, who made 12 appearances for the Jillaroos.

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