The term ‘Origin bolter’ gets thrown around a lot in the weeks leading up to any given series, but 2018’s dark horse might have been staring us in the face the whole time.
Exactly four months until the 2018 Holden State of Origin Series, Brydens Lawyers NSW coach Brad Fittler has thrown into the ring a player who he believes should be on everyone’s radar.
“Blokes like Josh Reynolds – who no one seems to be speaking of at the moment,” Fittler tells NSWRL.com.au. “He was there at five-eighth when they won it (in the 2014 series).
“I love watching Josh play; he’s full of energy. We just need people that are like that, just put everything they’ve got into their footy team.”
Reynolds, formerly a favourite son at Belmore, finds himself at a rejuvenated Wests Tigers outfit this season – and the move could be vital to his representative chances. The move comes in the midst of a big period of player turnover, with seven incumbent Blues and several Origin hopefuls also finding new homes in 2018.
“It’ll be interesting how he goes in the new team, the Tigers, but anyone who plays with that sort of enthusiasm and passion we’ll be definitely looking at.
“I think a lot of the changes (with other players) have been good changes,” Fittler adds. “If you go through the series last year, a lot of our blokes were distracted by possible change, contract talks and I think it showed in our game.
“I think it will inspire a lot of the players that may have been feeling a little bit stale if that’s the case.”
The mass changes may or may not result in a new-look side this year, with Fittler indicating that the form and ladder position of clubs will also come into considerations.
“It’ll be very interesting to see how the season starts,” Fittler says. “We just need those blokes that are in line for jobs, they need to just drive their team. Hopefully by May they’re sitting at the top of the ladder.
“l don’t think I’ll be picking teams ’til May. It’s one thing Phil Gould taught me, he said ‘If you start picking them now, you just set yourself up to be depressed’. A lot can happen between here and May!”
A lot is about to happen, with NRL trials about to get underway and the regular season to kick off on Thursday, 8 March.