A bemused Adam Reynolds has fired back at South Sydney over claims his successor Lachlan Ilias is “going to be the best halfback the club has had in a long time”.
Reynolds declared himself a definite starter for the Broncos in Friday night’s blockbuster against Parramatta at the Gabba, but not before responding to the sensational comments about Ilias by coach Jason Demetriou last week.
The popular playmaker steered South Sydney to the 2014 premiership and seven preliminary finals before being cut loose by his junior club, whereupon he was quickly snapped up by Brisbane.
The 33-year-old was surprised when he read about Demetriou’s comments in News Corp papers following the win over the Wests Tigers, and told this masthead: “That was a little potshot. I know he’s just sticking up for the halfback he’s got now and trying to give him a bit of confidence.
“Whether he means it or not, I’m not too sure. One of the best coaches in the game, Wayne Bennett, told me if you start listening to the fans, you’ll end up sitting with them. I’m not sure whether he’s been influenced by noise from the fans.
“He’s sticking up for his halfback. I admire Lachie as a player, he’s young and still learning his trade. I’ve always said it’s unfair to compare Lachie to what I did – it was a different era and a different team.
“I’m not too worried about his opinion. It’s his opinion. I’m sure others might see it differently. All I know is I’m excited about where my journey is going with the Broncos.”
Reynolds had the last laugh over Souths a few weeks ago, and returns from the groin injury that ruled him out of last weekend’s gritty win over North Queensland.
Demetriou was forced to defend Ilias before the Tigers clash in Tamworth when it was reported the halfback’s position was under threat.
As for Reynolds and the Broncos, victory against the Eels will go close to sealing them an all-important top-two finish with three rounds remaining.
The skipper was a late scratching last week after injuring the same right groin that caused him grief in the 2021 preliminary final and grand final for Souths.
To prove how ready Reynolds is for Parramatta, the right-footer is expected to resume goal-kicking duties.
“I felt a little pull in the groin area when warming up at training last week, it was sore at the time, I finished the session, but once we flew to Townsville, I tried to sprint but couldn’t without any pain,” Reynolds said.
“We’ve got the bye next week, and initially there was talk about missing this game, but I was keen to get out and play. We’re heading in the right direction, and we get another chance to work on combinations and what’s been working well for us the past few weeks.”
The No. 7 said playing at the Gabba had its quirks, and there would be challenges for Parramatta opposite Mitchell Moses when it came to kicking and working out the dimensions, especially identifying the sideline when kicking long.
Brisbane and Penrith sit four points clear on top of the ladder, with the bye, Raiders in Canberra and Storm back at Suncorp Stadium their run home before the finals.