Injured Canterbury halfback Trent Hodkinson believes Josh Reynolds has found the calmer onfield demeanour the Bulldogs need from him if they are to claim this year’s NRL title.
Reynolds calmly slotted the golden point field goal in the Dogs’ 11-10 win over the St George Illawarra in Saturday’s epic elimination final.
But the former NSW representative, who has become the Bulldogs’ chief playmaker due to the season-ending wrist injury to Hodkinson, has been criticised in the wake of that win for failing to provide Canterbury with organisation around the park.
Hodkinson said that criticism of Reynolds and his halves partner Moses Mbye is off the mark.
“With ‘Grub’ (Reynolds) being out for a while he has to get his match fitness back, but I think they (Reynolds and Moses) have been going pretty good,” Hodkinson told AAP.
“I like the fact that ‘Grub’ has taken on a role of trying to steer the side around and being calm about it rather than being his enthusiastic self, he has to find a happy medium there. He can be cool under pressure, he took the reins with that field goal and slotted it over.”
“Obviously Moey (Mbye) is still young, he has a big future and that will come for him, but he is on his way, we have been a bit shaky at times the last couple of weeks but that time together on the field will have done them a lot of good. That win will have given them a lot of confidence.”
Ahead of Friday night’s semi-final against Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium, Hodkinson, who will join Newcastle next season, says the Dogs need to be wary of a Tricolours side hurt by last week’s upset loss to Melbourne.
“They will be tough, the Roosters will want to hit back after the hiccup last week,” Hodkinson said.
“We showed last time we can match it with them, we came back from 22 points down. We showed we can score points, we just need to be in that game and get into the grind.”
In their previous encounters this season the Roosters defeated the Bulldogs 24-10 in round 10 at ANZ Stadium and 38-28 in round 21 at Allianz Stadium. In the second fixture, the Roosters led 22-0 before the Dogs fought back to lead 28-22 with 20 minutes to play only for the home side to prevail.