PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 10: Adam Reynolds and Dane Gagai of the Rabbitohs look up at the replay screen during the round one NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors at Optus Stadium on March 10, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

Former NRL star Matty Johns has slammed the South Sydney Rabbitohs for their handling of the Adam Reynolds contract situation.

Johns has labelled the Rabbitohs’ offer of a one-year deal to the 31-year-old star halfback as a “crazy decision” that saw Reynolds choose more security in Brisbane.

Losing the dynamic duo of Reynolds and Cody Walker, who were inches away from winning the grand final, the Rabbitohs struggled with their new halves pairing – combining the young Lachlan Ilias and Walker – in their loss to the Reynolds-less Broncos on Friday to kick-off their season.

The Broncos signed Reynolds on a three-year deal, something South Sydney were unwilling to offer the halfback, who had been a star at the club for the best part of a decade.

On the SEN 1170 Breakfast show, Matty Johns let his feelings be known.

“What we saw again from Souths (on Friday) was the crazy decision to allow Adam Reynolds to leave the club,” Johns told SEN 1170 Breakfast.

“Ilias is a very good player and he’ll end up going on to play 200 games.

“But it takes you 30 to 40 games to not just get used to the pace of NRL football but then on top of that to organise other guys into shape.

“They were saying he’s a very good talker and a good organiser, but this is another step up.

The issue isn’t only that you are substituting one of the games best halfbacks with a mostly unproven player. It is the pressure that is now on Walker's shoulders to create almost every attacking opportunity for the Rabbitohs.

“It just puts a huge strain on Cody Walker and you can see how much adjusting they still have to do,” Johns said.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 20: Cody Walker of the Rabbitohs celebrates scoring a try with Dane Gagai of the Rabbitohs during the NRL Semi Final match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Manly Sea Eagles at ANZ Stadium on September 20, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

“I couldn’t understand the Adam Reynolds decision back then and I don’t understand it now.”

It isn’t just Johns who noticed the impact Reynolds’ absence had on Walker in the first game of the season. Both Greg Alexander and Cameron Smith commented on his attitude as the game came to its end.

“You could see the frustration in Cody… He’d had enough and they can’t afford to have that Cody,” Alexander said.

Smith agreed with the sentiment.

“He withdrew from the game even earlier than 10 minutes to go.

“He looked like he wasn’t interested.

“He’s going to have to learn how to adapt (because) the unfortunate thing is that Adam Reynolds isn’t coming back.

While it is only the first game of the season, and reactions shouldn’t read too far into it, there is no doubt that Walker will have a heavier load in 2022.

If he isn’t prepared to carry it, the decision to let Reynolds go could be disastrous for the Rabbitohs.


  1. Am I missing something here?
    Cody Walker is 32
    Adam Reynolds is 31

    Souths let Reynolds go because (supposedly) they felt he was too old to be offered a two year deal. Walker is signed until the end of next season, by which time he will be 33 going on 34.

    The Ilias -Walker combination is unlikely to last more than two seasons. For 2024 Souths will almost certainly be looking for a new 5/8 to go with Ilias.

    So, I too can’t see why they did not offer Reynolds a two year deal and keep their premiership window open for this season and next. As it is, this year it’s closed because Ilias is raw and next year won’t be a lot better. In 2024 Ilias will know his way round the park but he’ll have to develop an understanding with someone new.

    I think we’ll look back on the 2021 season as being the one Souths could and should have won (and would have won if Mitchell had not been so unruly).

Comments are closed.