Reynolds surprised by speed of Dogs' rise
Mon, 03 Sep 2012 4:59a.m.
By Steve Jancetic
No player symbolises Canterbury's 2012 improvement more than five-eighth Josh Reynolds, but the man himself admits he wasn't always convinced the Bulldogs had it in them to be an NRL finals force.
While Reynolds noticed an immediate change following coach Des Hasler arrival at the club, he didn't necessarily think it would lead to instant success such as the minor premiership they secured on Saturday night with a 42-10 win over Sydney Roosters.
"To tell you the truth, probably not," Reynolds said when asked if he thought in the pre-season the Bulldogs could make the finals.
"I didn't think we were not going to make it, but you just play it by ear.
"It was definitely different - I've been at the club for years and you could just feel the different vibe at the club.
"Obviously we changed a bit the way we played but just having the brains around the club - you look at our coaching staff - Dessie and Jimmy Dymock and Tony Grimaldi - they've all been great players in the past."
Reynolds was seen as little more than a fringe player heading into the season, expected to back up first-choice halves Kris Keating and Trent Hodkinson.
But a knee injury to Hodkinson gave Reynolds an opportunity he would not waste - so much so that he was mentioned as a possible State of Origin bolter heading into the series finale.
Reynolds denied club confidence had been dented with the heavy loss to Canberra the previous week, which ended their 12-game winning streak.
But as he approaches his first finals game, he admits he'll be leaning on some of the more experienced teammates in the Bulldogs squad for a bit of advice.
"I'm definitely not daunted, I'm just over the moon and excited," Reynolds said.
"I'm just going to try and not let everything get to me and just play my normal game.
"I've asked a few of the guys that have played semi-final footy and they say in general they're grinding (games).
"It's going to be a great game, it's going to be massive - obviously they (Manly) are a classy side with plenty of strike power."
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