The sight of Adam Reynolds running out for the Brisbane Broncos in the NRL finals will add more misery for South Sydney fans after the Rabbitohs let him walk two years ago because they were unwilling to offer him a long-term deal. The Rabbitohs had concerns about the veteran halfback's longevity and instead decided to go all-in on young gun Lachlan Ilias.
Reynolds decided to join the Broncos, and has made a complete mockery of Souths' decision to let him go. Brisbane struggled in Reynolds' first year in 2022, but surged to a second-place finish in the 2023 regular season.
Speaking ahead of the Broncos' clash with the Storm in Friday night's qualifying final at Suncorp Stadium, Reynolds said he was happy to silence his doubters. So confident is he in his body, the 33-year-old is now pushing for a new deal to stay at Brisbane in 2025.
"I was questioned by certain people that I wouldn't be able to get through two years and here I am today, playing in a finals series," Reynolds told AAP. "Do the same people back then have the same opinion now?
"I've played over 20 games again this year. If you look over at other NRL players throughout the career, there's probably players that have missed a lot more games than me. It's something I laugh at. It doesn't really bother me."
Reynolds did sustain a minor calf injury that saw him miss the last two games, but he will be fine to face Melbourne. He is eying a one-year extension for 2025, and will take a season-by-season approach from there.
"They're working in the background to get that done," Reynolds said. "It's exciting times. Obviously the club's in a great place and I want to be on the train going forward.
"I have full trust and faith in my body to get through another two years. There's a lot of great halves that get better (with age). The game tends to slow down for halves who have played a long time. Experience plays a big part in that."
Adam Reynolds defends under-fire Lachlan Ilias
While Reynolds will be playing in the finals, his former Rabbitohs teammates will be going on end-of-season holidays. Souths became the first team in the NRL era to miss out on the finals after leading the competition as late as round 12.
Questions have arisen about Ilias and whether he's up to being an NRL halfback, while Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker failed to fire in the season's final month. But according to Reynolds, the criticism shouldn't be aimed at Ilias.
“I feel for Lachie, and it’s never easy taking over from a player who was there for 10 years, won a grand final, and just been in a grand final,” Reynolds told the Sydney Morning Herald. “The pressure and expectation from the get-go was always going to be a lot greater compared to another halfback.
“I don’t know if they’ve got the right game plan he wants to play. The game plan they have now is the one implemented when I was there, which involves playing on the ball and creating space for your outside men...I see Lachie as a bit more of a runner, but he’s been thrown in and asked to play that role."
Former Souths halfback Craig Field recently posted on Facebook, “Don’t care what people at Souths think - but number 7 (Ilias) is not up to what [his] coach thinks." South Sydney great Craig Coleman liked the post.
NRL 360 host Braith Anasta, who is Ilias' manager, fired back. “Some people have short memories," he said. "He (Coleman) should be trying to inspire the kid and help him be better – not the opposite."
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