Adam Reynolds has a point to prove to the NSW selectors – and who better to do it against than Queensland great Johnathan Thurston.
The South Sydney halfback is expected to make his NRL return from a broken jaw next weekend and will be pitched into a tantalising head-to-head duel with North Queensland, Maroons and Australian playmaker Thurston.
NSW coach Laurie Daley has a selection dilemma on his hands with his incumbent halves either suspended (Mitchell Pearce) or out of form (Trent Hodkinson).
Before he went down, Reynolds was already pressing his claims for a sky blue jumper, after having his Origin push ruined by injury last year.
Should he be able to out-point Thurston in Townsville next Saturday, it would prove a real boon with Daley known to place emphasis on big-game performance.
Without Reynolds, the Rabbitohs have appeared rudderless, including during their 17-10 loss to Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
Michael Maguire’s side looked all at sea with Cody Walker and Luke Keary time and again coming up with poor fifth tackle options and playing sideways all too often.
Maguire now has to decide whether to drop Walker, whose form has fallen away considerably since his impressive debut in round one, or Keary, who failed to step up to the mark in Reynolds’ absence and is rumoured to be on the outer at Redfern.
Maguire said Keary and Walker had a lot of improvement left in them but emphasised Reynolds’ return would not be a quick fix.
“I’ll sit down with the two halves (Keary and Walker) and go through that game and they’ll get a lot out of that,” Maguire said.
“There were times in the game when we could have taken control, whether it was a kick to a corner and building pressure.”