An injury-free Josh Reynolds has declared he can be the man to take control of Canterbury in the absence of Trent Hodkinson after an impressive effort in the Bulldogs’ 20-0 NRL trial win over Melbourne.
Reynolds led the Dogs astutely around Belmore Sportsground on Saturday night, earning a points win over Cooper Cronk.
The former NSW State of Origin playmaker has enjoyed an injury-free summer for the first time in three seasons. Hodkinson joined Newcastle in the off season. Moses Mbye will partner Reynolds in the Dogs’ halves this season.
Even without Mbye, who missed the Storm match due to a gluteal strain, Reynolds cranked Canterbury’s attack into gear for much of the night.
“I felt good out there because I’m feeling a little bit fitter,” Reynolds said.
“I feel a little bit stronger. Last year coming off surgeries, I was worried about just getting back, where this year I’ve just worried about my game and it all adds up.
“I’m realising more and more that it’s about your preparation so if I get my head around, I’ll be happy to step up and be the controlling player. When I was younger, I used to be the controlling player, believe it or not.”
Reynolds is confident he and Mbye are striking up a potent halves combination.
“As years went on, I was just playing free-flowing footy,” he said.
“Hopefully, I can find that balance this year. Trent’s gone now and sometimes, if I don’t call anything, then nothing is called.
“It’s just about building for us. It was pretty unfortunate that (Mbye) had to pull out late but, at training, we have been feeling really good and that’s all we can go off at the moment. I felt I was calm out there and I was in that little zone I want to stay in.”
Mbye is expected to be fit for the Dogs’ round-one match against Manly.