It is not always pretty, but Josh Reynolds has got the job done yet again. (AAP: Dean Lewins)
He does not have Cooper Cronk’s kicking game, Johnathan Thurston’s cut-out ball or Shaun Johnson fleet feet, but Josh Reynolds has sparked his Bulldogs to yet another victory, over South Sydney.
Reynolds was more influential than a number of players with more recognisable talent and athleticism in the Bulldogs’ 24-9 win over the Rabbitohs on Good Friday.
He may not have been talking about himself when he told the ABC the win was a team effort sparked by “some big bits of individual brilliance by a few blokes”, but he should have been.
The Canterbury five-eighth is one of the most maligned players in the NRL — although seemingly not by his teammates — and often rightly so.
His on-field conduct at times can be considered idiotic at best and dirty at worst, but his ability to create something out of nothing is perhaps the primary reason they extended their winning streak to three games on Friday.
Another judiciary appearance … It’s all part of the Josh Reynolds experience. (AAP: Paul Miller)
He got burned like a hot-cross bun when Alex Johnston trotted around him to open the scoring with a superb 55-metre effort, but it sparked the mother of all replies.
Four minutes later, Reynolds took the ball towards the line, driving a low kick into the in-goal.
Johnston had it covered and probably should have taken action, but he was completely stunned by a flying Reynolds, diving past his left leg to dot down about a metre inside the area.
The Rabbitohs took a 9-8 lead to the break thanks to a field-goal snap by their own Reynolds, Adam, before Josh got one back on him after half-time.
South Sydney’s half-back is the quintessential playmaker, but the Bulldogs pivot’s desperation trumped the Bunny’s in the 54th minute.
Some fancy footwork saw Adam fly through the defence come within a whisker of the tryline, but a Superman-style dive by the Bulldog dragged him down a few feet before the line.
That try and the simple conversion would have given the Rabbitohs a seven-point lead with just over 20 minutes to go. Instead, Reynolds went up the other end and created a brilliant try.
After the Bulldogs’ set play stalled, he received a ball in the centre of the field with room to move.
Reynolds has been the spark for many of Canterbury’s best moments in 2017. (AAP: Paul Miller)
An assured charge right, a show-and-go and a crafty change of pace later, he flicked a ball to Kerrod Holland, who pierced the gap opened up by Reynolds’ pace and zipped through, laying on an assist for Josh Jackson to score.
A try saved to a try made — a 12-point swing thanks to Reynolds’ effort and energy.
The Bulldogs scored again on the ensuing set from the kick-off and that was just about that for the game as a contest.
Reynolds is an infuriating player — often he seems more intent on angering or injuring the opposition than actually out-playing them — but when his energy is channelled into the right endeavours, he can turn a game all by himself.