The Roar
The Roar


ANALYSIS: The other Reynolds makes his mark on Grub's day as Broncos too good for 'amateurish' Bulldogs

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15th July, 2023

It was a day to farewell a club legend, as Josh Reynolds played his final game for his beloved Canterbury Bulldogs, with the crowd at Belmore packed in to say goodbye as he left the field for the last time after playing in NSW Cup.

There was nothing but love and admiration for the man they call ‘Grub’.

“He is just blue and white through and through, and an absolute champion,” said Fox League’s Michael Ennis.

“What a lovable larrikin, he can talks to kings and queens and he can talk to the punters on the hill, I can understand why they love him so much,” added Steve Roach.

The blue and white faithful would have hoped that such an emotional day at their home ground would be enough to spur on the first-grade side, but it wasn’t meant to be, going down to an understrength Brisbane Broncos 44-24 on Saturday.

“It was set up to be a really good day,” said Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo.

“It was disappointing to finish the day like that. There was a lot of promotion around the boys wanting to put on a really good performance for Grub. Really sad we couldn’t do it.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JULY 15: Josh Reynolds of the Bulldogs after his final professional game and retirement at Belmore Sports Ground on July 15, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Izhar Khan/Getty Images)


It was the first time the Broncos had played at Belmore since 1998. While the first half was a tight arm wrestle, the visitors kept their record intact for not losing any games they led at halftime, running away with the game in the second half with the other Reynolds, Adam, pulling the strings.

The Broncos were without a truckload of talent, including Pat Carrigan who was rested after Origin, Reece Walsh still outsuspended, along with Payne Haas, Tom Flegler and Corey Oates sideline with injury.

There was also a controversial sin-binning that left the Broncos with 12 men for a crucial part of the game, but the General Reynolds stepped up to lead the remainder of his troops, finishing the game with one try, two assists and a close-to-perfect kicking game.

“He just steered the team around brilliantly, added a few trick shots himself,” said Broncos coach Kevin Walters of his skipper.

But Broncos fans held their breath when they saw Reynolds make his way to the sideline late in the game with a suspected injury to his wrist.

“It was more precautionary,” explained Walters. “We’ve got a short turnaround against Souths, so we got him off, we put some ice on it – he’s fine.”

With plenty of the engine room out of the match, some of the smaller men had to stand up for the visitors, with winger Selwyn Cobbo having to spend some time at lock.


“He’s a big strong carrier of the ball and he likes mixing it with the big boys. I thought he did pretty well today,” added Walters.

The Bulldogs’ lone Origin representative was also ruled out with Josh Addo-Carr succumbing to a hamstring injury he suffered on Wednesday night.

Fullback Jake Averillo was easily the Bulldogs’ best, scoring two tries and remaining safe under the high ball. He will be missed next season when he makes his way north to join The Dolphins.

Sitting in fifteenth spot on the NRL ladder, the Dogs matched it with the second-placed Broncos for most of the first half.

The home side struck early off the back of a penalty, Jacob Preston taking advantage of the field position and crossing in just the fourth minute.

The Broncos hit back ten minutes later when Reynolds raced through to score. The halfback then had a hand in his side’s next four-pointer, when a short pass found Kurt Capewell close to the line.

The scores were once again level after a game of hot potato from the Bulldogs kept the ball alive until Averillo found a hole to sneak through and score.

Cobbo was then sin-binned for a raised forearm Toby Sexton, ruling him out for the remainder of just his second game for the Bulldogs.

The scoreboard continued ticking over with the first 40 finishing at a point a minute as the Broncos headed to the sheds in front 22-18.


Despite starting the second half with twelve players, it was the visitors to score first when Xavier Willison strolled over the Dogs’ line untouched. The Broncos then ran away with the game putting on another three tries.

While a consolation try to Corey Waddell made the scoreline a bit more flattering, it still showed the depths of the Broncos this season, as well as just how good they will be when they return to full strength.

As for the Bulldogs, it’s back to the drawing board after coming off such a high from their win against the Rabbitohs last week to cop another big loss.

“Every time they got down the other end got points too easily,” said Ciraldo.

“You can’t give up that many points and expect to be in the game. That’s just amateurish.”

Cobbo sin bin splits opinion


When Broncos’ centre Cobbo was marched for ten after his collision with Sexton, the Fox League team were left divided on the decision.

“No, it’s a fend. He hasn’t hit with the forearm, it’s a fend,” said Roach. “You have a look at his hand open, he pushes through. I think it’s an accident.

“I think the thing that will save him is his hand is open. He does cop him with a forearm. I don’t think it’s deliberate. I think he’s missed with the fend and he’s caught (Sexton) with the forearm.

While Sexton left the field with a bloodied nose and eventually failed his HIA, it was seen that Cobbo had collected him with an accidental knee which caused the bleeding. But the 18th man was still activated for the Bulldogs.

Smile for the camera, Mahoney

Bulldogs hooker Mahoney wasn’t feeling in a charitable way, as the Broncos did their bit for Try July.


His opposing number Billy Walters scored a try and used the ball as a camera to take a selfie with teammates as well as raise another $5000 for his post-try celebration.

Not wanting a bar of it, Mahoney walked past the smiling Bronocs to try and hit the pretend camera away.

“No surprise it’s one dummy half swatting it out of the other dummy halves,” said Ginnane.

“Nothing riles you up more than when your opposition number scores a try like that,” added Ennis.

“Should have punched on and it could have been another $10,000!” laughed Roach.

Offloads a chink in the Broncos’ armour

While the Broncos continue to charge through to the finals footy as one of the most exciting attacking teams in the competition, one area in their defence that is a concern to coach Kevin Walters are the offloads conceded against his side.


Heading into Saturday’s game, the Broncos topped the list for the team who had conceded the most offloads so far this season with 184, and the Bulldogs added a further 14 to Brisbane’s tally.

“Our first half was a bit scrappy, they kept getting offloads off us,” said Coach Walters. “We fixed that up for the second half.”