Origin Not A Focus For Reynolds
Bulldogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds says his on-field performances are the only thing that can get him back in State of Origin calculations.
The passionate playmaker earned a bench spot in Game Two of the 2013 series before featuring in all three games of the victorious 2014 campaign, but was overlooked for last year's series.
Reynolds said his club form is the only asset he's got in convincing NSW Blues coach Laurie Daley that he is worthy of a representative recall.
"For me it's just about doing my role here at the Dogs," Reynolds said.
"It's a question I get asked a lot about Origin. I feel if I come here and Des feels I'm playing well and my teammates feel I'm playing well then that's all that matters.
"Laurie might not think I'm up to scratch or selectors might not think I'm up to scratch but that's not in my control. If I come here every week and do my role, that's all I can do."
The Bulldogs five-eighth said he was in a different headspace 12 months ago leading into the State of Origin series, and he believes that might have cost him a spot in Laurie Daley's side.
"Last year around this time I was edgy," the 27-year-old revealed.
"It was a different situation; I was the incumbent and I felt like I was more of a chance even than I am this year. This year I just haven't bought into any of it.
"I haven't read any papers and tried not to watch any TV, but you always hear people come in and say what they think and for me I'm just letting it all out there. I'm trying to do all my talking on the field and I feel a lot better.
"I actually used to get anxious about it. I've done a fair bit of work and I feel when I'm anxious, that's when I'm going out there and playing my worst."
In a positive sign for the Bulldogs, Reynolds revealed club football was his number one priority at the moment, saying his focus was solely on turning around his club's indifferent form to start the 2016 NRL Telstra Premiership.
The blue and whites have endured a rocky seven-game stretch, and Reynolds said it was time for the players to fix the problems he believes are staring them right in the face.
"Origin is definitely not at the front of my mind yet. It's more about getting this season on track for the Dogs. Win, loss, win, loss – it's just not us. We're a way better team than that and we know that," he said.
"I watch the games sometimes and think 'why didn't we do what we did last week this week?'
"People will say it's an attitude thing but I can tell you right now it's not. We come in every week and nothing changes. It always seems when we have an error we back it up with a penalty and then a team camps down in our half for 10 to 15 minutes.
"When we go set for set with teams we tend to come over the top of the top of them and we know that. That's up to myself and Moses (halfback Moses Mbye) to keep the boys in the game.
"When we feel we're switching off we [need to] go back to our safe plays and stay in the game.
"Because we've got so much talent around the park, I think we feel sometimes we might jump the gun a bit too early. That's on me again to know when to shoot the gun.
"We've been together for five years now. We do lots of video with Des but when we come here I reckon we could do the videos ourselves. We know exactly what we're doing wrong but it's just about fixing it."
The experienced heads of Canterbury veterans Sam Perrett and Josh Morris agree with their teammate's sentiments, reiterating the need to find consistency.
"That's been our big focus and that's what we're really aiming to have," Perrett said when asked about the team's hot-and-cold start to the year.
"I think through the competition there have been some ups and downs across the paddock. There have been a few teams that are holding their form. We just want to get that going."
Morris said the representative period would define the Bulldogs' season, putting even greater emphasis on their game against the Tigers this weekend.
"They're probably a bit like us this year. They've been a bit hot and cold. They are capable of coming out and blowing sides off the park. We need to go out and make sure we start just as fast as them and counteract that," the star centre said.
"I think the next three weeks are very important to us as a group heading into the Origin period. We've got three Sunday games and [we'll be] without 'Hop' (Will Hopoate) so it's very important that we step up so we don't miss him too much and get those wins leading into the Origin period."
This article first appeared on NRL.com