Penrith winger knows his way to the line 

IT seems hard to imagine that David Simmons would think anything else but attack.

If he is not thinking about scoring a try, he is working on a way to make a break or create an opportunity.

As the Penrith Panthers' leading try scorer the theory is paying dividends.

But in a former life Simmons was a defender; albeit on the soccer field.

Up until 15, the Penrith winger was playing the round ball game and defence was his number one priority.

"I very rarely scored any goals; probably three or four in my whole career," Simmons said.

"In rugby league terms that is the equivalent of a front rower in terms of attack. But it got to a point where I was getting a bit tired of soccer so I thought I'd give footy a crack

"I use to play rugby league at school and in the backyard. I have always loved the game and once I started playing it I knew that's what I wanted to do."

As a boy growing up in the Sutherland Shire, Simmons ticked all the boxes for a rugby league lover in Cronulla.

He followed the Sharks. Tick. His favourite player was Andrew Ettingshausen. Tick. And come Saturday nights he would be kicking the ball on the hill at Shark Park. Tick.

His dream of playing for his local club came true when he made his debut for Cronulla in round 22, 2003.

"It was a dream come true to play for my local club I supported. It all happened pretty quick. One day I was watching from the hill and the next day I was playing with the people I used to watch," said Simmons, who is closing in 200 NRL games. "I used to love watching ET and the guys from that era and to play on the same field as them is something I look back on with pride."

It seems hard to imagine that Simmons - the man Panthers fans have come to rely on in any situation - would ever hit a form slump.

But in 2009 he was in a self confessed "lull" and unsure of what the future would bring.

He needed a change of scenery. Enter Penrith.

In 2010 he made the move to the foot of the mountains on a two-year-deal: no promises or strings attached.

The 28-year-old has paid them back in spades. Well to be more accurate, tries.

He averages one try every two games in a Panthers jumper. He is also closing in on 100 career tries.

His form has been that good in 2013 he was not only rewarded with a new two-year-deal but he was also in the mix for a NSW jumper for State of Origin III.

His only other representative jumper was when he represented City in 2006 - and you guessed he scored a try in that game too.

"I guess it's part of a winger's job to score tries and it's something I enjoy because it is my way I can help the team," he said.

"I've worked really hard on my defence and positional play and it is good to be on the end of an in-form backline with guys like Luke Walsh and Matt Moylan giving me opportunities."

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