Keary positives in Reynolds' absence
With Adam Reynolds currently on the sideline nursing a broken thumb, plenty of positives have emerged in light of the good form and newfound skills of Rabbitohs five-eighth Luke Keary.
Before Reynolds went down injured in the Rabbitohs' infamous Good Friday clash, until breaking his thumb in his return a month later, his halves partner Keary hadn't kicked over 100 metres in a game and had produced only two try assists in five games.
While it hasn't been all smooth sailing, with South Sydney losing four of their six games without their star halfback, there are definite improvements in Keary which will prove beneficial in the backend of the season.
In the six games Keary has played without his partner in crime, the 23-year-old has been forced to become chief playmaker, meaning his try assists production have doubled and kicking metres per game have increased by over 186 metres.
"I think I've added a lot more to my game. Obviously it's no secret [Reynolds] does a lot of the kicking when he's there and I've had to do most of it now so I've improved that," Keary said.
"It's kind of a comfort thing in the NRL – the more kicking you do, the better you're going to get at it – and just basically controlling the team.
"I think when he comes back I'll still slot back into my role, but I'll be a lot more comfortable and probably will have a couple more strings to my bow."
Pinpointing what his usual role in the team, Keary noticed how much he and Reynolds fed off one another when combining on the paddock.
"I didn't realise how important he was for me. I probably relied on him just a little bit too much, but obviously for the past month we've played pretty good footy and managed to get wins without him there," Keary said.
"[Usually] I'd probably bring a lot of energy to the side and do a lot more ball playing I guess rather than kicking and steering the ship around [as I am now]."
While he continues to build on the field, Keary is still continuing to manage a nagging foot injury which has affected him since the Rabbitohs' preliminary final win over the Roosters last season.
Fairfax media reported last month that Keary has cartilage damage in between the first and second metatarsal in his foot, which would rule him out for 12 months if he were to undergo surgery.
Now halfway through the season, Keary is confident he'll get through the season without missing any games, though South Sydney's byes in Round 15 and 18 were crucial to the injury's "day to day" proposition.
"It's just about getting rest over the byes and allowing it to heal better. I think I'll be sweet come the back-end of the year," Keary said.
"I've obviously played through 13 rounds now and obviously everyone is playing with a bit of pain so I think I'll get through it.
"I just check in with the doc every Monday morning and put a needle in on the weekend and away I go. It sometimes causes me grief during the week, short turnarounds and flights will inflame it but it just depends on the week, what I've done and how much volume they put into it."