The Canterbury Bulldogs have made a call on the future of Josh Reynolds, upgrading him to a Top 30 contract before a ball has been kicked in anger.
Reynolds has spent the summer on a train and trial deal with his former club, hoping to snag one of the remaining roster spots at Belmore.
The 33-year-old, who is a favourite son of the Bulldogs having played 138 games for the club between 2011 and 2017 before spending failed stints at the Wests Tigers and Hull F.C in England, could have gone into retirement, but instead decided to fight for another opportunity in the NRL.
The former four-time New South Wales representative has impressed new coach Cameron Ciraldo so much that he has been rewarded with a Top 30 spot before the trials begin, with Wide World of Sports suggesting the deal is done.
"He's been great around the place with his energy and attitude and Cam decided he wants him here full-time," a Bulldogs source told Wide World of Sports.
"The young guys in the squad really look up to him and it's been a popular decision."
Canterbury confirmed the news on Wednesday afternoon as Cameron Ciraldo revealed how he broke the news.
"We announced it to the playing group which gave the boys an enormous lift after a tough few weeks of training," Ciraldo told the club's media team.
“We were talking in the morning about what sort of team we wanted to be, and we felt it was a good way to finish off the training session by saying that the qualities that Josh Reynolds brings to the team is what our team wants to display.
“The boys were pretty excited and jumped all over him. We didn't do him any favours, he worked hard and deserves this opportunity.
“We felt the leadership he brings to the team and his competitiveness, that's what we wanted to rub off on the squad, but it was up to him to show us that his body could hold up to it all,” Ciraldo said.
“And he's done really well in that regard. He has proved to us that he can be a really valuable asset to the team this year, so there was no point in waiting any longer. We wanted to give him the confidence that we have in him and that's why we announced it.”
The deal means Reynolds, who is set to play in Canterbury's first trial against the Canberra Raiders in Moruya next Sunday, will have a chance to fight for a spot in the Bulldogs' Round 1 team when they open their season against the Canberra Raiders at Brookvale in early March.
The Bulldogs' first-choice halves pairing is likely to be Matt Burton and Kyle Flanagan, while Reed Mahoney will don the number nine, however, the club are short on depth in both positions, and the chance of Reynolds featuring at some point this year, particularly around the State of Origin window, seems large.