Adam Reynolds, last year’s captain of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, expressed his surprise at the failure of his former team to qualify for the NRL finals. With Reynolds now playing for the Broncos, he noted the shock of the Rabbitohs missing out on the finals after holding the lead in the competition during its first 11 rounds.
He also touched on the criticism lobbied at Lachlan Ilias, the Rabbitohs’ halfback who received backlash following the Rabbitohs‘ tumble. Reynolds wondered if Ilias was merely following an outdated game plan rather than being at fault. Critics, including former Rabbitohs players Craig Field and Craig Coleman, were quick to single out Ilias for their team’s dismal performance.
Reynolds empathised with Ilias, having previously worn the number 7 jersey for the Rabbitohs. “I feel for Lachie, and it’s never easy taking over from a player who was there for 10 years, won a Grand Final, and just been in a Grand Final,” he stated.
There were doubts raised over whether the game plan that worked during Reynold’s time at the club was right for Ilias. Reynolds stated, “I don’t know if they’ve got the right game plan he wants to play. The game plan they have now is the one implemented when I was there, which involves playing on the ball and creating space for your outside men.”
The Club’s game plan ideally had suited Reynolds’ style of play that enhanced Cody Walker and Latrell Mitchell‘s talents. Reynolds sees Ilias having a different playing style that doesn’t necessarily align with the current game plan. However, according to Reynolds, this might be due to Ilias being forced to fill the role rather than latching onto an unfit playing style.
Former Rabbitohs‘ number 7 Craig Field vented his frustration on Facebook, stating “I’ve got to get it off my chest – don’t care what the people at Souths think – but number 7 is not up to what this coach thinks.” Field’s sentiment was echoed by Craig Coleman, who previously criticised Ilias as well.
With Jack Wighton due to join the Rabbitohs as a centre next year, some commentators have suggested that he could best be utilised in the halves, partnering with Walker. Despite Reynolds experiencing firsthand Souths‘ powerful performance in their victory against Brisbane in round nine, he noted the Rabbitohs felt like a different, less connected team when they were defeated by the Broncos in round 21.
Despite not being with the Rabbitohs anymore, Reynolds still has a connection with the team, stating “I still get along well with ‘Cooky’ [Damien Cook], Cody, Latrell, Campbell Graham, Cam Murray … you never want to see them down like they are.”
Reynolds continues to provide support for Ilias, empathising with the pressure he is under. “I still speak to Lachie and check in to make sure he’s all right. I know the pressure he’s under as young fella trying to make his own career. He’s getting blamed for a lot he shouldn’t be getting blamed for. As long he’s got support around him, he’ll be right.”
Looking forward to his match against the Broncos on Friday night, Reynolds pronounced himself fit to play despite a recent calf injury. He acknowledged the daunting fact that Melbourne had claimed victory in 14 consecutive games against Brisbane, but remained optimistic, stating, “Hoodoos are only hoodoos if you believe in them; if we play our brand of football and get it right on the night, I don’t think anyone can beat us”.