Mortimer predicts big things from Reynolds
New South Wales Blues legend Steve Mortimer is so confident Adam Reynolds will succeed in his State of Origin debut that he has backed the halfback to lead his side to a one-point win with a field goal in the dying stages.
Having captained the Blues to their first ever series win in 1985, Mortimer knowns more than a thing or two about what it takes to wear the No.7 jersey for his state.
The former Bulldogs playmaker said he had watched Reynolds rise through the ranks and is confident he is ready to handle the game's greatest stage.
"The South Sydney Rabbitohs have a huge asset in a guy called Adam Reynolds. As a former NSW half, I welcome him with my arms wide open to step into the No.7 position and do what Laurie Daley and his mates want him to do," Mortimer told NRL.com.
"I've always admired young Adam Reynolds. He's tough, he's small, he has a good kicking game, he can take off quickly and he knows how to read a game.
"When the game opens up a little bit, he can push himself forward and create a two on one. To me that is very special. Two on ones mean opportunities to make breaks and score tries.
"He's quiet, but he's an absolutely determined character."
Mortimer believes Reynolds's transition from club footy to interstate warfare will be made easier by the supporting cast around him.
He said the onus was on the senior playing group to drill in the "we not I" mentality to the NSW rookies, saying once the new faces bought in, any pre-game jitters would be forgotten.
"No doubt he'll be feeling proud and feeling nervous," the former Blues skipper said when asked how Reynolds would be coping on Wednesday night.
"But what that means – with the other guys being blooded as well – is that a lot of the other players that have played will get to sit down and get to know each other and to care for each other and to look after each other.
"When you do that – when you know you're going out as a 'one-of' – then you're very comfortable."
Blues coach Laurie Daley is expecting the Maroons to target his rookie halfback on Wednesday but is backing the 25-year-old to handle the extra attention.
"I think Adam will be ready for that. I don't think anyone will get under his skin, put it that way," Daley said.
"I think Adam is certainly a real calm customer. We know he's going to be put under all sorts of pressure. When you play your first Origin game you expect it."