Take a step back Cooper Cronk, James Tedesco and even Sonny-Bill Williams. According to South Sydney halfback Adam Reynolds, Luke Keary has been the Sydney Roosters best buy in recent years.
"He's a big part of their season. He's a great player," Reynolds told NRL.com.
"In my eyes, he's the most important player in that side.
"He's been playing with great skill and confidence. They are not the same team without him."
A glimpse of that came when a knee injury kept Keary out for three games late in the Roosters season with utility Ryan Matterson filling in at No.6. The Roosters only lost one game of the three in Keary's absence but their attack was nowhere near as potent.
Reynolds has first-hand experience of Keary's powers. The last time the Rabbitohs were in a preliminary final – 2014 – it was the Reynolds-Keary show. They not only beat the Roosters, but then went on to raise the Telstra Premiership trophy after defeating the Bulldogs.
They will be opposing halves on Saturday night at Allianz Stadium after Keary left Redfern at the end of 2016.
"We're still good mates and keep in touch," Reynolds said of Keary.
"He adds a lot to their team and we know that. We have to work together to shut him down, former teammate or not."
Knowledge of the Keary game helps but mutual respect will be placed on hold on Saturday night.
"There won't be any sentimental feelings about knocking each other over. We know each other's game so well but we've both developed and added a few things since we were playing together," Reynolds said.
"This week he'll be dangerous so we have to stop him, along with most of their line-up. They're strong all over the park."
Reynolds remembers the 2014 preliminary final meeting quite well. Scores were level at 12-12 but Souths then sprinted away to a 32-22 win.
"They came out of the blocks firing and got a roll-on much quicker than us. We turned it around and came back. But four years on, we can't let them do the same thing to us again because we might not come back this time.
"They are two completely different squads now. We need to be better than our last game – the Dragons. We didn't complete as well as I'd like and we gave away a few silly penalties."
Souths completed 30 of 42 sets against the Dragons (71 per cent), but conceded eight penalties and produced 10 errors. Room for improvement exists.
The Roosters completed at 93 per cent (39 from 42) in the 21-12 win over the Sharks a week ago. They made just four errors and gave away five penalties.
And while Cronk kicked a field goal in the week one finals win, Reynolds kicked three in week two.
That prompts questions about where Reynolds gets his "courage under fire" traits from.
"I'm not too sure why but I always remain pretty calm on the field," said the father-of-four.
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Perhaps all that colour and movement at home helps Reynolds prepare for the dizzy heights of finals football – namely the final 10 minutes in the 13-12 win over the Dragons.
"I don't know if my wife would think I'm calm at home, but I know I'm pretty lazy. She does a lot of work with the kids.
"I suppose my older brother is pretty calm so I guess it just flows through the family. I don't believe in blowing up for no reason. When something happens, it happens.
"No-one wants bad things to happen, so the quicker you get over it and move on, the better it is for you.
"That's how I look at football too – things happen in a game that can get under your skin. Don't let them and move on quickly so it doesn't affect your overall game."
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