Finally awarded a sky blue jersey after years of near misses, Adam Reynolds took just one game to look truly comfortable in the Origin arena.
As perhaps the most crucial position in Origin football – and Rugby League in general – there are few more daunting tasks than making a VB Blues debut in the no.7 jersey. At 25 years of age and with more than 100 NRL games under his belt, 2016 was the year Reynolds was judged to be ready and Laurie Daley handed him his maiden selection ahead of the series opener.
Origin I was perhaps not quite what Reynolds would have hoped for, with the occasion said to have got the better of him at times. It was a low-scoring affair on both sides, with Reynolds failing to generate sufficient pressure with his kicking game and also missing a vital conversion which ultimately proved the difference, but held his own in defence despite being a predictable target.
Picking Reynolds for a second appearance was an obvious decision and he showed significant improvement in the do-or-die encounter at Suncorp Stadium. One of the best in-play kickers in Rugby League was on song with the boot and also came up with a try assist, thanks to a well-placed offload to Tyson Frizell. He looked significantly more comfortable before a shoulder injury forced him from the field in the 65th minute, which stifled the VB Blues’ momentum and diminished their hopes of salvaging the series.
The injury would then rule Reynolds out of the third encounter, which is unfortunate for a player who looked like making the sky blue jersey his own in future. While the Game III halves pairing of Matt Moylan and James Maloney was effective, Reynolds will be hopeful of returning to the position in 2017.