Josh Reynolds can earn a NSW State of Origin recall on the back of his improved defensive efforts, believes his Canterbury teammate and certain Blues selection David Klemmer.
With one NRL round remaining before the NSW side for Origin I is selected, Reynolds is one of a number of options in the halves for coach Laurie Daley.
Cronulla playmaker James Maloney has emerged as a leading contender for the Blues’ five-eighth slot. But concerns remain over his defensive output in the 2013 series, when he last played for NSW.
Reynolds played alongside his then-Bulldogs halves partner and now Newcastle captain and halfback Trent Hodkinson in NSW’s drought-breaking series win in 2014.
Klemmer believes Reynolds’ defence has been a key part of his improved form over the past month and can get him back in the NSW side, after missing out last year.
“He is definitely in the mix; his form over the past month has been extraordinary, especially his defence,” Klemmer said on Wednesday at Bulldogs training at Belmore Sports Ground.
“He showed on the weekend too how well he is going there. He has really worked really hard on that and has definitely put his hand up for selection.”
Josh Morris has been a regular in the Blues’ side for the past three seasons. But his position for Origin I in Sydney on June 1 has come under threat from Kangaroos centre Josh Dugan.
“I think that would be hard on Josh. We were not performing well as a team (early in the season) and it is hard to perform in an under-performing team,” Klemmer said.
“I reckon probably the last few weeks, Josh has really stood up and shown what he can do – he is a world-class centre.”
Klemmer is sure to be one of four props chosen alongside Paul Gallen, Aaron Woods and James Tamou for NSW when Daley names his team on Monday for game one.
Klemmer was humble about his selection chances.
“Just being there last year was extraordinary. It is not something you want to miss out on,” he said.
“Those are the games you want to be in. If my form is good enough to get picked, great.”