NSW State of Origin coach Laurie Daley feels Adam Reynolds is the man to end Parramatta’s halfback curse.
Daley, who coached Reynolds at Origin level this year, believes the South Sydney No.7 would be the perfect foil next season for the just re-signed Corey Norman.
However, he prefaced his selection on whether the Eels, who watched marquee man Kieran Foran dramatically walk away this year, considered themselves one piece away from contending for a premiership.
The Eels’ 11 wins this year would have had them in contention for the top eight if not for a 12-point deduction for salary-cap cheating.
“It depends if they think they need two-three years to win a competition or whether they think one player can get them over the line straight away,” Daley said on Wednesday evening on Fox Sports’ NRL 360 program.
“The guy that I’d be looking at right there and then would be Adam Reynolds.
“For me, he’s 25; he’s won a premiership; he controls a game, great kicking game.”
Reynolds heads a long list of playmakers off contract at the end of next season, including Mitchell Moses, Luke Brooks, Jack Bird, Ashley Taylor, Ben Hunt, Anthony Milford and Mitchell Pearce.
Mercurial stars Johnathan Thurston and Shaun Johnson will also be free but are considered untouchable.
“They may have to wait 12 months,” Daley said.
“But the big question will be, obviously they’re spending a lot of money keeping Corey Norman there. So the next halfback to come in would have to complement his style of football.”
Convincing Reynolds to leave Redfern could be a stumbling block, however, given the Rabbitohs have already let Luke Keary go this year and have rookie Cody Walker pencilled in to start at pivot.
Greg Inglis could also be an option to move to the halves.
“He’ll probably stay there at Souths, but he’d be the one that I’d look at and go, you know what, I reckon he’d form a good combination with Corey Norman,” Daley said.
The Eels have money to burn after this year’s cap scandal forced Nathan Peats, Junior Paulo and Ryan Morgan to depart the club mid-season.
Foran walked away to address personal issues, Anthony Watmough also retired on medical grounds, while former star Jarryd Hayne spurned a big-money deal to come back to the NRL with Gold Coast.