Back-rower Tariq Sims says North Queensland can cover the loss of Matt Scott and Brent Tate due to injuries suffered in State of Origin II.

Returning North Queensland enforcer Tariq Sims is confident the Cowboys have the depth to cover the loss of State of Origin stars Matt Scott and Brent Tate to injury.

Tate has been ruled out for the season due to a knee injury suffered in Origin II on Wednesday and Scott might also not play in the NRL again in 2014 after suffering a fractured cheekbone at ANZ Stadium.

Back-rower Sims, who was touted as a Blues possible, copped a two-game suspension for a lifting tackle on Canberra lock Shaun Fensom in round 11, which has kept him out for three weeks after North Queensland enjoyed a round-14 bye.

The 24-year-old returns for Monday’s match against Newcastle at Hunter Stadium.

“It has been a really hard three weeks, at training, keeping fit and waiting to play some footy and, this Monday night, I finally get the chance to get out on the paddock again,” Sims said.

“I’m sick of being refreshed. I’m ready to get into the grind again.

“With Matt Scott out with his eye and Tatey with his knee, these are definitely tough times for us.

“But this is where we rely on depth with our team. People need to step up in their positions and really put their hand up.

“I’m sure that we have blokes to cover those positions.”

Undoubtedly, a side with the talent capable of fighting it out for a top-four berth, the Cowboys have again been inconsistent under new coach Paul Green this year and Sims says that needs to change in the lead-in to the finals.

“We have been patchy, we want to be a solid team going into the finals and we really need to step it up a gear,” Sims said.

“Newcastle have had their backs up against the wall – I think it is seven weeks without a win.

“It is tough playing a team that is that desperate because you don’t know what they are going to throw up.”