Whispers of Josh Reynolds returning to Canterbury in 2021 have gone quiet in recent weeks, with the club doubling down support on halves options Kieran Foran, Lachlan Lewis and Brandon Wakeham.
However, maybe the halves isn't where Reynolds' future lies...
Recent reports have claimed the Wests Tigers were happy to release Josh Reynolds to former club Canterbury for 2021 and even willing to pay half of the utility's $800,000-a-year salary, but Dean Pay and the Bulldogs board decided against the move.
Canterbury Bankstown already have veteran Kieran Foran and youngsters Lachlan Lewis, Brandon Wakeham and Jack Cogger in their top 30, leaving no need for another half within the squad.
But what if Josh Reynolds wasn't recruited as a five-eighth?
Reynolds has spent a lot of time at hooker during his stint with the Wests Tigers, and it's one position where the 'Dog of War' really need some experience.
They've currently been using Sione Katoa and Jeremy Marshall-King as rake with Fa'amanu Brown or Kerrod Holland in a bench role, however none of the four really worry an opposition, with JMK the preferred of the four.
Canterbury could use Reynolds as a starting nine, he has the ability to create, can run the footy, tenacious in defence, as well as a nifty short kicking game. His high energy leading the defensive line from the front foot, and most importantly, Canterbury is in his blood.
It's the sign of a club with good culture. It's burned into his DNA, the club's culture and values, only a few clubs have this type of rich history imbedded within the playing group, and Canterbury are one of them.
Manly is another great example. Notice in recent years, their most successful coaches were Geoff Toovey and Des Hasler, former Manly players, blokes that simply understand what the club needs to win and succeed, and you see that culture in players like Anthony Watmough, Daly Cherry-Evans, Brett and Glenn Stewart, Jake and Tom Trbojevic and Jamie Lyon, even Kieran Foran now to an extent. It's the culture.
Imagine the fans in the stands when Josh Reynolds made his return, look at the club's roster right now and not one player besides Josh Jackson screams Canterbury. That aggressive, gritty, determined, fierce playing style that defines them, Reynolds just carries those qualities in bucket loads.
Reynolds would start alongside new prop Englishman recruit Luke Thompson with Jeremy Marshall-King bringing the spark from the bench, and really deliver that defensive grit that the club has still been clinging too by the skin of their teeth. Foran has some of those qualities as well, especially after coming back from the brink of injury so many times now.
While Wests would be forced to fork out $400K for the 2021 season, it opens up $400K for them to use for 2021, potentially to try and convince Harry Grant to stay onboard, or if Benji Marshall retires, his salary + $400K could deliver a really big fish to the club.
So while the door for Josh Reynolds to return to the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs as a half is closed, the door for him to return elsewhere must stay open if the club is to regain that mojo that makes them the Dogs of War.