Australia’s leading halfback Cooper Cronk says South Sydney’s Adam Reynolds has the ability to seize the NSW State of Origin jersey with a standout performance in next month’s All Stars game.
The 22-year-old was voted into the NRL All Stars’ No.7 jersey for the annual clash against the Indigenous All Stars in Brisbane on February 9, with Test, Queensland and Melbourne halfback Cronk one of Wayne Bennett’s coach’s selections on the bench.
Reynolds, the 2012 NRL rookie of the year, was integral in steering Souths to last year’s grand-final qualifier against Canterbury, where their season collapsed after he suffered a hamstring injury just before halftime.
Sydney Roosters’ Mitchell Pearce is the incumbent NSW halfback but he and Cronulla’s Todd Carney were outplayed by Queensland duo Cronk and Johnathan Thurston as the Maroons extended their Origin domination to seven years.
In 2011, Canberra fullback Josh Dugan had a blinder in the All Stars game which springboarded him into a Blues jumper for his Origin debut.
Cronk, who will likely play the second half of the All Stars game, said Reynolds had the talent to do the same.
“He’s obviously got the skill set,” Cronk said after Storm training on Thursday.
“For a kid that debuted last year and took Souths to a final, he’s got all the attributes.
“I’m not sure what NSW are thinking but it’s a really good opportunity for him.”
Reynolds has also been selected in Laurie Daley’s 22-man Emerging Blues squad, which will gather for a weekend camp at Coogee in Sydney on Friday – proving he’s in the NSW coach’s thinking.
Cronk said Reynolds was used to big-game pressure after playing in the finals series and also in his club role with the Rabbitohs.
“He’s a good player, plays at a big club that demands success and has a lot of supporters so I wish him all the best.
“I look forward to possibly learning a few things off the young fella too.”