Adam Reynolds is set to sit out the first month of the NRL this season with appendicitis, leaving South Sydney fans in a panic ahead of next week’s season opener.
Reynolds enjoyed a topsy-turvy 2016, breaking his jaw in the Rabbitoh’s first match, making his State of Origin debut, and missing the last game of the series with a shoulder injury. He capped off the final month of the season in style, leading the Bunnies to four straight wins, but only finished the game on the field in two of them.
His up-and-down luck appears to have followed him into this year, missing the Auckland Nines with a sore hamstring, starring in the Charity Shield and now the appendicitis has struck. Surely there’s some good luck on the way for the Redfern junior.
While injury has struck in recent years, the halfback was actually very fortunate with his health early in his career. Debuting in the first round of 2012, Reynolds would play 79 consecutive first-grade games, not missing a match until the final round of 2014.
His absence will be a big blow for the red and green, with Reynolds clicking extremely well with new recruit Robbie Farah in the Charity Shield. Farah is expected to start at hooker against former club the Wests Tigers next Friday, despite the strong form of Damien Cook.
Cook showed more than just speed against the Dragon’s, putting in a lovely banana kick for rookie Braidon Burns to score. While the kick created a good try in a trial match, it could possibly open the door for Cook to take the reins at halfback while Reynolds remains sidelined.
Cook appears one of three options South Sydney have at their disposal. The club picked up half Luke Kelly from Parramatta over the pre-season, the only real back-up half Souths possess with young gun Connor Tracey sidelined with an ACL injury. John Sutton has played the majority of his NRL career at five-eighth, though appears certain to spend the rest of his days in the back-row. Cook is the third and final option, with Greg Inglis declaring fullback is where he’ll stay.
Luckily for Souths, their round one opposition, the Wests Tigers will be underdone as well. Luke Brooks has only featured in the Auckland Nines so far, while Mitchell Moses only featured in the World All Stars clash, leaving the field with a heel injury. Both are down on match fitness, while Matt McIllwrick looks set to snare the hooker role with Matt Ballin and Jacob Liddle still on the sidelines.
Despite all the injuries, the game is sure to snatch headlines as Robbie Farah goes up against Jason Taylor, a fuse lit by Aaron Woods at the NRL season launch.
“We’ve obviously had a few dramas in the last 18 months. So it’s good to get away from that and good to have a pre-season drama free” Woods said.
Michael Maguire will name him first 21-man squad on Tuesday, with Reynold’s replacement sure to be a mystery until kick-off on Friday. No matter who dons the number seven for the club, they’re sure to carry big expectations on their shoulders during the opening month.