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EXCLUSIVE | Josh Reynolds raring to go after exile

Wests Tigers star Josh Reynolds admits he can’t wait to get on the field after being named to start at five-eighth for his first top grade game of the season for Wests Tigers this week.

A hamstring injury to incumbent number six Benji Marshall has opened the door for Reynolds to partner Luke Brooks in the halves in their Friday night blockbuster with Penrith.

Reynolds has been outstanding in the New South Wales Cup for Western Suburbs in the last two weeks after coach Michael Maguire noted he wanted to see further growth in Reynolds’ game.

The 29-year-old moved to Concord from the Bulldogs last season on a lucrative contract but a number of injuries limited him to just five games for the year.

Reynolds told Halftime he’s raring to go on Friday night.

“I really am,” Reynolds said.

“I had another game under my belt for the (Western Suburbs) Magpies and unfortunately Benji (Marshall) tweaked his hamstring, so I got the call up and what a game to come into.

“I think I remember I said last week, I was going into training just trying to be myself and have the same preparation for any game, but I’m not going to lie it’s probably a bit of a boost to go out and play in front of a big crowd again in a tough game.

“We’ve got to come out and put on a performance.”

The clash with the Panthers is one of the matches of the round with the Tigers to come up against former coach Ivan Cleary who walked out on a contract with the club to return to Penrith to coach son Nathan.

Reynolds says there’s been plenty of hype but it’ll be forgotten when the team takes to the field.

“It’s different for everyone,” Reynolds said.

“I think a couple of the boys still might be holding onto a little bit of stuff because a couple of the boys made some fairly big moves in their careers and so did I to a certain extent.

“But for me I try and just play footy, your coach is your coach, but you’re playing with your teammates on the field, they’re the ones that you do it for.

“Don’t get me wrong the coach puts out the game plan and things that you have to go by, but in the end I’ve just got to go out and play footy.

“The whole build up this week has been in the media – Ivan (Cleary) verses us and the Panthers are under the pump – but in the end after five minutes that’s all gone and as players you forget about that.”

Both the Tigers and Penrith will be looking to bounce back from below-par showings against the Bulldogs and Storm respectively over the weekend.

Reynolds has played 143 First Grade games for both Canterbury and the Tigers, while he has also represented New South Wales on four occasions.

Penrith will host Wests Tigers on Friday at 8:05PM at Panthers Stadium.


Click ‘play’ to hear the full interview below.