South Sydney captain Adam Reynolds offered the usual thanks to the sponsors and relevant state government authorities, and congratulations to the victors after the NRL grand final.
- Adam Reynolds missed a sideline conversion and field goal attempt to tie the grand final in the final minutes
- A groin injury kept him from kicking in South Sydney’s last game and at training this week
- He is heading to Brisbane next season after South Sydney did not re-sign him
Having just lost a brutal contest 14-12 to the Penrith Panthers, speaking in front of almost 40,000 people probably wasn’t high on his lists of wants or needs, but that’s the job of a captain, and a good leader like Reynolds always makes sure to hit the beats.
But Reynolds’s speech was more gut-wrenching than usual, with the halfback close to tears throughout.
“To all our fans and our members, I love you guys from the bottom of my heart. It’s been one hell of a journey.
“Sorry we couldn’t get the result tonight but no doubt the boys will be back fighting harder than ever next year.”
Clearly shattered, Reynolds did not front the post-game press conference with his coach as captains usually do, and who could blame him.
He missed a conversion from the sideline that would have tied the game at 14-14 in the 76th minute, then fell short on an attempt at a 40-metre two-point field goal, despite being one of the only players who had landed one all year.
“I think that he is a bit stuffed,” teammate Cameron Murray told Channel Nine after the game.
“It is his last year at the club. We really wanted to go out on a high for him.
“I can’t put into words how much he has done for our club, so proud of him. It is an honour to play with him for the first couple of years of my career.
“Sad to go out that way.”
Reynolds played an excellent game, troubling the defence with his footwork and kicking better than he had any right to behind a dominated forward pack, but it will always be remembered, perhaps by him more than anyone, for those two kicks.
Even if they went on to lose the game, he deserved better than to have that be his final act as a Rabbitoh.
In his 10th season at Redfern, with many more in the local junior ranks, the club made it clear he was not part of their plans going forward.
Thanks largely to a slew of lower-body injuries, the 31-year-old had slowed in recent years, so the club’s position was not entirely unreasonable.
But those injuries were proof of how much the diminutive playmaker had given to the team.
Leading into the grand final, of course he was battling through once again.
A groin injury stopped him from kicking for goal in the preliminary final and according to Wayne Bennett he did not kick at training until the day before the game.
So of course the luckless Reynolds’s right boot would be given its two toughest tests a week later on the biggest stage.
And for once, the La Perouse junior did not ace it.
At least the Brisbane fans got a good look at what they are getting next year.
An excellent player and an exemplary leader.