Reynolds wants win over Belmore emotion
Inspirational Canterbury five-eighth Josh Reynolds is aware of the hype surrounding his final game at Belmore with the Bulldogs but wants a victory against the Newcastle Knights on Sunday more than anything to ensure the side remain in the finals race.
After 14 years at the club, Reynolds will head to the Wests Tigers at the end of the season and insists he will be doing everything he can to take the Bulldogs to their sixth-straight year of finals appearances under Des Hasler.
Reynolds admitted the occasion was likely to get the better of him on game day, with a strong crowd expected and the traditional hill set to be renamed after him for the game.
He will also line up against former teammate and close friend Trent Hodkinson in the halves.
"I actually did my first interview about it the other day and that was the first time I thought about it, to be honest," Reynolds said on Thursday.
"It's a bit hard with everything going on at the moment with the team and that's my first thing to think about. It will be hard for me and I want a big win and to get it out of the way.
"Obviously it's going to be a great occasion and I've got a lot of fond memories here with a lot of friends and family that will come down."
Reynolds admitted as the season progressed he had come around to accepting 2017 was the final season in blue and white.
"It's a hard one. I'm so excited for the new challenge next year but I'm not going to lie, I'm saddened about leaving the place that has given me so much," he said.
"I love what I've accomplished here and the friends I've made, the Bulldogs have helped me become the person I am today.
"It's not nothing to be sad about and I'm very grateful with what the club has given me."
It's not the first time Canterbury have let go a prodigal son with former skipper Steve Price departing in 2004.
Reynolds however was realistic about the situation.
"It's not always about you in the end and I'm only a number in a massive club and there have been so many great players and some great juniors that have come and gone," Reynolds said.
"It would be selfish of me to think I'm any different. I have come to terms with it."
Emotions are set to come into play on Sunday and there is no other player in the Telstra Premiership that visibly plays with their heart on their sleeve.
The 28-year-old though believes he has matured from the days of trying to boss the opposition around.
"If there is anything I've learnt from rugby league it's don't play on your emotions," Reynolds said.
"I can be pumped up and sad but it's probably the worst thing for me. There is way more important things going on than me at the moment and that's winning games and making the eight."
While Canterbury are set to go above and beyond for Reynolds on the weekend, the club will also farewell Melbourne-bound prop Sam Kasiano at Belmore and welcome forward Andy Saunders who will make his NRL debut.
"I just don't want it to be all about me but Zap (former Bulldog Steve Turner) said to try and see it from the club's perspective because us as players we think we're only human," Reynolds said.
"But you realise a lot of people's weekends are rugby league and for us to give them that joy or anger sometimes, it's pretty special.
"From a club perspective what they've given to me now is a great feeling. They're naming the hill after me and that's unbelievable and something I will be able to tell my kids, it's special.
"There is no better feeling than running out in front of people who appreciate you because they know how much you love the club.
"No one will ever be able to take that away from you."
Languishing in 13th on the Telstra Premiership ladder, Canterbury will need to win every game and hope other results go their way.
It is a unique situation for many of Hasler's senior players who have not missed September football since 2011.
"In the football sense of things, even though we did lose last week I think we deserved to win and we have that feeling in the camp," Reynolds said.
"We haven't been in this predicament before where we've had to win every game to get into the semi finals so it's a different feeling.
"It's killing us especially for the guys who have been here a long time, it's different water for us so we're going to do everything in our power to get into that final eight.
"Any sort of experience is going to help in the backend of the game and I feel we've got plenty of cool and calm players in the big moment that is in our favour."