Nathan Cleary has revealed how Adam Reynolds texted him after the NRL grand final to send his congratulations and apologise for forgetting to mention the Panthers in his runner-up speech. Reynolds was absolutely shattered after the Broncos suffered a historic collapse to lose the grand final 26-24.
The Broncos set the unwanted record for biggest lead conceded in a grand final loss after leading 24-8 with 20 minutes remaining. It eclipsed the 14-point lead the Dragons gave up in the 1999 decider against the Storm.
Reynolds had a brilliant season and was one of the main reasons the Broncos made it all the way to the grand final. But his performance in the decider was pretty underwhelming, and he looked devastated after full-time.
To make matters worse, the Broncos captain copped some flak when he failed to congratulate the Panthers in his runner-up speech. “Firstly I’d like to thank the NRL and Telstra. Thanks for another great season. Without you guys, none of this is possible,” he said on the presentation stage.
“To everyone who made today possible in the background. The match officials, particularly Adam Gee, congratulations on your first referee (in a grand final).
“To the Broncos. All the boys. Keep your head up lads. It’s been one hell of a year. I love every single one of you. To all our fans and supporters, both interstate and back home, we’re extremely sorry we couldn’t get the job done tonight, but we’ll be back bigger and stronger next year.”
Fans took to social media to accused Reynolds of being 'classless' and 'unsportsmanlike' for failing to acknowledge the Panthers. The captain later apologised and said he simply forgot, and Cleary revealed this week how Reynolds reached out to him personally.
"I have a lot of admiration for Reyno. So that was cool," Cleary said about the text he received. "He actually apologised for not mentioning us in his post-match speech: I said it's 100 per cent fine. Then he just said congratulations."
After copping backlash online, Reynolds took to Instagram to apologise. “This one hurts,” he wrote. “Sorry to all Bronx nation. Love you guys. Sorry we couldn’t get the job done.
“Apologies for my speech, I forgot to congratulate the Penrith Panthers. One hell of a team. Congrats on another premiership and great season. See you all back in Brisbane.”
Adam Reynolds at centre of brutal retirement call
Reynolds copped some harsh truths in the aftermath of his grand final performance. Discussing the situation on NRL 360, journalist Brent Read said: “What disappointed me was they bought Adam Reynolds, that’s the game, that 20-minute period is what they bought him for, to get them over the line. And Adam came up with some plays in the last 20 minutes that completely changed this game, it wasn’t just the dropouts."
The Broncos are keen to re-sign young guns Reece Walsh and Ezra Mam long-term, but that could mean a difficult decision for the 33-year-old Reynolds. “What Adam Reynolds showed me last night, he’s looking for a contract extension, beyond next year for 2025,” Phil Rothfield said.
“From what I saw last night I’d love to see him play next year and then pull up stumps. The Broncos can’t really afford to give him more because they have got to keep Reece Walsh and Ezra Mam."
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.