Knights v Rabbitohs: Five key points
It was South Sydney Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds' time to shine following an indifferent month in his side's 34-12 win over the Newcastle Knights on Sunday afternoon. Newcastle's commendable effort on and off the field was again not enough to break a 17-game losing streak.
Third time a charm for Adam Reynolds
The Souths halfback perhaps unfairly earned the nickname 'Half-game Reynolds' following his failure to finish his past two matches. Consecutive hamstring and concussion concerns have hindered him of late but you wouldn't have guessed it if you watched the Rabbitohs' 22-point win. Reynolds had the ball on a string and set up exactly half of his side's tries. Making his performance even more remarkable was the fact he was sick on Saturday night with "a little bit of everything" according to captain Greg Inglis and coach Michael Maguire.
"It's a fair credit to him. [On Saturday] night we weren't quite sure if he was going to play. He came down with an illness and was quite crook, very sick," Maguire said.
"It was a great effort from him to wake up this morning, turn up and play very well. There's still a lot of upside in Adam's game."
Newcastle, give yourselves a pat on the back
What was the Knights' famed Old Boys Day, Newcastle's fans again delivered once again. Their side may have only managed the lone win and a draw at Hunter Stadium this season (and across all stadia at that) but the Newcastle faithful have come out in force every single home fixture. The 15,212 fans who turned out to see the Knights on Sunday afternoon boosted the club's average home crowd to 14,555 per game for the year, a remarkable effort considering the Knights' 17-straight defeats. It's certainly a good sign for their largely inexperienced side in the years to come.
Rabbitohs' extend impressive Knights record
Do we have another 'hoodoo' on our hands? The Rabbitohs were able to make it seven-straight wins against the Knights on Sunday, with that streak dating back to 2012. In their past four games against Newcastle, the Rabbitohs have accumulated a combined 184-34 scoreline. Souths have been out of finals contention for months now but have dug deep in recent weeks to ensure they end their season on a high. Their motivation? Maguire believes it's a matter of building for the seasons to come, as the foundation club puts their pride on the line.
"We have been through a period there which every one of us didn't want to go through that," Maguire said.
"The way they have come together and the way the senior players have been really driven through this period, we have learnt a lot as a group and as a club, so it's going to really lay a platform for us moving forward."
Knights' part-timers stand tall
Josh King, Cory Denniss and the club's latest debutant Dylan Phythian are players who even diehard Knights fans would've barely known of at the beginning of the year. They're also a trio of players who aren't on the club's full-time payroll. All three hold full-time jobs off the field and Knights coach Nathan Brown couldn't have been happier with how the unlikely trio stood up under plenty of adversity. Phythian was the Knights' 11th debutant this season and celebrated accordingly with a maiden try.
"All of those three work. They only come to training later in the week. Next year they'll hopefully train full-time and we'll have a group of 30-odd players who have a lot more experience from this year," Brown said.
"The key is to put the right personalities around them and we'll definitely win more games next year."
Cook's clanger for the ages
Imagine being gifted an inch-perfect pass from Inglis with 20 metres to run and nobody in front of you. That sounds and feels good, doesn't it? Now imagine dropping that same ball and being the laughing stock of your team thereafter. Souths hooker Damien Cook doesn't have to imagine it, unfortunately. With 10 minutes remaining in the first half, Cook's failure to hold on to a run-of-the-mill pass denied him his first try as a Rabbitoh.
"He copped some daggers from me, that's for sure," Inglis laughed.
"We have had a great joke about it since. He hasn't scored a try this year so he has until next week to get one otherwise it's the nudie run for him."