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There was an air of nostalgia at the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs’ Belmore headquarters when club great and True Blue Josh Reynolds was rewarded with a promotion to the club’s NRL top 30.

Having last pulled on the blue and white jersey in 2017, the 33-year-old had a homecoming of sorts when he returned to his old stomping ground late last year on a train and trial deal.

Now Reynolds’ efforts throughout the pre-season have been rewarded just weeks out from the 2023 season with coach Cameron Ciraldo and general manager Phil Gould announcing his elevation to the first grade squad.

The Bulldogs are aiming to become a competitive force again and have plenty of building blocks in the new-look side, including Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton, and recent recruits Viliame Kikau and Reed Mahoney.

Yet the signing of Reynolds, with 138 matches for Canterbury-Bankstown to his name, brings invaluable knowledge to the squad of what the Bulldogs DNA is all about according to the new coach.

“We were talking in the morning about what sort of team we wanted to be, and we felt it was a good way to finish off the training session by saying that the qualities that Josh Reynolds brings to the team is what our team wants to display,” Ciraldo said.

“We felt the leadership he brings to the team and his competitiveness, that’s what we wanted to rub off on the squad, but it was up to him to show us that his body could hold up to it all.”

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