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The Roar



Letting Reynolds leave for Brisbane should always be remembered as Solly’s folly

Roar Guru
2nd September, 2023
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Roar Guru
2nd September, 2023
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Now that the top eight for 2023 has been settled, South Sydney fans are left to again reflect on yet another disappointing season.

Their star-studded team went as close as a Latrell Mitchell suspension to taking the title in 2021, were murdered by the Penrith Panthers in last year’s preliminary final, and were denied a chance of making the finals this year by their traditional rivals in the Sydney Roosters, when yet another chapter in the Book of Feuds was written.

The Rabbitohs faithful will be asking themselves where it all went wrong, and they don’t need to look any further than the controversial “sacking” of Adam Reynolds by CEO Blake Solly at the end of the 2021 season. “Sacking” may seem like an exaggeration, but it’s the Bunnies we’re talking about, so the more emotive language the better.

What on earth was silly Blake Solly thinking? Adam Reynolds was a local junior who had spent his entire 10-year career with Souths, he was the club captain, a Grand Final winner with the club in 2014, a respected leader both on and off the field, the club’s highest-ever point-scorer, one of the best halfbacks in the game, and a player who had a lethal combination with the club’s attacking weapons in Cody Walker, Damien Cook, Cameron Murray and Mitchell.

In many respects, he was their talisman, and embodied the South Sydney spirit more than any other player in the club.

Adam Reynolds in the 2021 NRL grand final

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

In 2021, then aged just 31 and still at the peak of his powers, Reynolds wanted to renew his contract with Souths for two more years, but Solly thought the better of it, decided that Reynolds was either too old or too expensive, and offered him a lowball one-year contract instead.

It’s history now that Reynolds rejected this insulting offer and was picked up by the Broncos for $2.4 million over three years. Now just take a look at how that decision worked out for the respective clubs.


Silly Solly thought he could replace Reynolds with the 21-year-old Lachlan Ilias, and that players like Mitchell and Walker would step up to fill the void left by Reynolds.

While Ilias is improving all the time, he does have his “moments”, and has even been hooked by the coach on occasions. Put simply, he’s no Reynolds and most likely never will be.

As for Mitchell and Walker stepping up, they just haven’t delivered. Mitchell hasn’t looked like justifying his high price tag in the 30-odd games he’s played over the past two seasons, and often looks disinterested, while Walker is too often distracted by the massive chip on his shoulder.

In Reynolds’ absence, Souths have slipped from Grand Finalists in 2021 to also-rans in 2023, there are serious questions being raised about the club’s leadership and culture, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll bounce back to premiership contenders anytime soon.

Contrast that position with Reynolds’ impact at the Broncos. After finishing last and 14th respectively in 2020 and 2021, Brisbane have clawed themselves back off the floor under the coaching of Kevin Walters and with Adam Reynolds at the helm.

They just missed the finals in 2022 due to a late season fade, and this year find themselves sitting on top of the table alongside Penrith, and in with a real chance of winning their first premiership since 2006.


Reynolds’ leadership and game management skills have allowed the talented young Broncos crop including Patrick Carrigan, Kotoni Staggs, Selwyn Cobbo, Payne Haas, Reece Walsh and Ezra Mam to flourish, and there’s no reason why this year’s success can’t be replicated over the next few seasons.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 18: Reece Walsh of the Broncos celebrates scoring a try during the round three NRL match between Brisbane Broncos and St George Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium on March 18, 2023 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Reynolds has one more year to run on his current contract, and it wouldn’t surprise to see him extend beyond 2024.

Solly’s decision to squeeze a Souths legend in Reynolds out to save a dollar is hard to justify, and has damaged the club by virtually slamming their premiership window shut.

The circumstances of Reynolds’ departure are even more incomprehensible given the Bunnies have recently signed the soon-to-be 31-year-old Jack Wighton for the next four years for a reported $3.3 million.

Wighton’s star is clearly on the wane, and it seems his main attraction to Souths is that he’s Latrell Mitchell’s cuz, and they share an interest in public wrestling while out on the turps. Go figure.

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