'Selfless' Josh Reynolds act hailed as fans react to NRL retirement news

The veteran Bulldogs star broke down in tears after confirming the sad news on Monday.

Seen here, retiring Bulldogs NRL star Josh Reynolds.
Josh Reynolds has announced his NRL retirement after giving up a Bulldogs top-30 spot so the club could sign Toby Sexton. Pic: Getty

Veteran NRL star Josh Reynolds has broken down in tears after addressing Bulldogs teammates to confirm he is retiring from the game. The 34-year-old made a fairytale return to Belmore this season but in a "selfiess" gesture for his beloved club, the former representative playmaker agreed to give up his top-30 spot in the squad so the club could sign Toby Sexton from the Gold Coast mid-season.

It's understood Reynolds broke the news to his teammates on Monday, with video showing the entire Bulldogs squad crammed into the media room at Belmore to watch their teammate deliver his tearful goodbye. Reynolds - who will play one final game for the Bulldogs in Saturday's NSW Cup clash against North Sydney at Belmore - choked back tears after explaining that his body was no longer up to the rigours that come with playing first grade footy.

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"It's been in my mind for a little bit," Reynolds said. "There were a few training sessions where I was telling my body to get there and it just wasn't."

The Bulldogs fan favourite admitted: "It's so hard to think about footy not being a part of my life anymore" before going on to the describe the indelible mark that Canterbury has left on him . "This club means more to me than the game to be honest," he added.

"I honestly wouldn’t be the person I am today if I didn’t start here. Even just these boys being in here right now — I’m going to miss that so much because I’ve been chasing the feeling ever since I left and I finally got it back.

“I’ve got so many good memories. The thing I’m probably going to miss the most is being able to compete and never in my career have I gone into a game not wanting to compete. This year’s been one of the best years of my career because there’s been moments because I’ve been a part of some of these guys’ lives since they were kids and to be able to play with some of them is very special."

Pictured right is Josh Reynolds and Bulldogs teammate Matt Burton.
Josh Reynolds and Matt Burton celebrate the Bulldogs' NRL round five win over the Cowboys in 2023. Pic: Getty

Affectionately nicknamed 'Grub' for his physical and often trash-talking approach to the game, Reynolds left the Dogs at the end of 2017 for a big-money deal with Wests Tigers and later joined Hull FC in the English Super League. He played in Canterbury's two most recent grand final appearances as well as four State of Origin games for NSW, and was a member of the 2014 Blues side that broke a run of eight consecutive Queensland series victories.

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Reynolds played the last of his 145 first grade games for Canterbury in the round 11 loss to the Warriors. His incredible career and especially the decision to give up his top-30 spot for Sexton - in a move that coincided with a stunning upset of the Rabbitohs in round 19 - is being celebrated across the league world.

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In honour of Reynolds, the club will rename the Belmore hill the 'Josh Reynolds Hill' for this weekend's clash against Brisbane, having made the same change for his initial farewell game in 2017. "I played my U7s grand final here when I was seven years old and now to be able to play my final game here in a Bulldogs jersey is very special," Reynolds said.

Reynolds hopes to transition into an off-field role amid the club's ongoing rebuild. "I really want to help the club back to where it belongs," he said.

"Whether that's playing golf with the sponsors or meeting the boys at The Doghouse for a few (beers) after, I'll do it. We always talk about in our meetings what you want to be known for. I want to be one of those guys that the boys always wanted to play with.

"Every other team probably hates me, which is fine. I wanted to be the guy they can always lean on in any team and that's what I hope I've brought."

with AAP

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