Tough start: Souths half Adam Reynolds. Photo: Getty Images Ultimate League: It’s not too late to sign up for our Fantasy NRL game
This time last year Adam Reynolds was mooted by critics as a serious challenger for Mitchell Pearce’s NSW State of Origin jumper but the Souths halfback said he understood the reasons why those calls had become silent.
The Rabbitohs, considered premiership contenders before the season kicked off, have won only one of their first four matches and Reynolds acknowledged St George Illawarra – tipped to be wooden spooners before the premiership started – will present a serious challenge at the SCG on Saturday night.
Reynolds also admitted he was yet to walk off the field this season feeling pleased with his individual performances.
“Definitely not,” the 23-year-old said when asked if he was satisfied with his efforts. “My form was good last year because we were winning, as a team we were playing good football and that reflects on individual performances.
“We haven’t had the chance to produce the football that we’d like to this year, hopefully in the next few weeks we can get it right.
“When you’re winnng the attention seems to be on you but a few losses everyone is quick to judge – but that’s part of my role as a halfback. I’m sure if we get a few games going all the negative talk about us as a team will swing the other way.”
Coach Michael Maguire took action to try and arrest the Rabbitohs’ poor start – which Reynolds acknowledged was due to turnovers, failing to complete sets and being forced to tackle for most of their games – by shunting John Sutton to five-eighth and pushing Dylan Walker back to the centres.
“[Me and Sutton] had a good combination there last year, something we’ve still been working on over the pre-season,” Reynolds said. “He just gives us that extra big man up front and hopefully we can get things right this week.”
Reynolds scotched suggestions a series of rifts had turned the Rabbitohs’ “family” of last year into a fractured unit.
“Everyone is getting along fine here at Souths,” he said. “We’re all tight mates, not only at training but away as well. Our partners get along … everyone spends time together outside of football. Nothing going on; we’re all having fun here, it’s just a matter of putting performances on the board.”
Meanwhile, 22-year-old rookie Kyle Turner said he had learnt from bitter experience to appreciate the NRL’s decision to introduce mandatory rests for players who had suffered concussion after being rested by Souths last year after two serious head knocks left him suffering from headaches and bouts of nausea that wouldn’t go away.
“They were pretty worrying,” the back-rower said of last year’s concussions. “The Souths medical staff were really accommodating, they didn’t want to push me into anything. I came good towards the end of the year and I’m glad to be playing football again.”
At a time when the long-term damage of repeat concussions in individual league players was a hot topic, Turner revealed his earliest footy memory was being knocked cold as a 12-year-old.
“I was only a young bloke, didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “Woke up on the ground and thought ‘what’s happened here’, and mum and dad came onto the sideline and said ‘mate, you’ve just been knocked out’ … I was a bit shocked.”
Turner, who represented the NSW Indigenous team in 2008, said he was ecstatic to be playing at the SCG alongside his childhood heroes Nathan Merritt and Greg Inglis.
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