Silver lining comes in small packages for Reynolds after nightmare season

Josh Reynolds describes his 2018 season as a train wreck.

"My body failed me, man."

But in pursuit of a remedy to erase the nightmare that was his five-game debut campaign for the Wests Tigers, he found more than he bargained for on a self-funded study mission in Melbourne in September.

"I'm a big believer in everything happens for a reason," Reynolds told NRL.com.

"I wouldn't have gone to Melbourne if it wasn't for the season I went through. But if I didn't go to Melbourne I wouldn't be having the twins we're expecting next year. Yeah, last season was a write-off, but it turns out it was a blessing in disguise."

Yep, you read that correctly.

Josh Reynolds is going to be a father. Of two.

What was meant to be two weeks of intense testing and training at the Australian Catholic University to beat a chronic hamstring injury led to Reynolds reacquainting himself with an old friend. A silver lining to what was a horror year on the field for the Tigers’ marquee recruit.

"I went down to Melbourne and got some really good results on my body and came back with an even better result in my life," he said.

"I am so happy. Our little tribe is going to be together in Sydney and we're going to make it work. That's massive for me that she's willing to come up here and raise the kids. I don't want them growing up without their dad or someone dropping in every couple of weeks. It's not the person I am. I want to be part of their lives and I can't wait. I want to be a hands on dad. I'm honestly over the moon."

In October, a day before Reynolds was meant to fly to Bali on a holiday, he received the phone call that changed his life.

The news - that he would soon become a father - shocked him, so you could imagine his surprise a couple of months later when he learnt there were identical twins on the way.

"Before we even know she said ‘I don't know why but I have a feeling there's two in here’," Reynolds said.

"I went on old doctor Google and one thing that is common with women carrying twins is intuition. They say a lot of mothers know they are having twins before they are told. Then a few weeks later we find out there's identical twins in there. It's funny, nothing I do is normal. Everything is always 100 miles an hour and this is probably the perfect example of it. I love a challenge and this is the biggest one of my life but I'm ready to be a dad.

"I sort of conceded that I wasn't going to have kids at an age where they can probably watch me play footy. One of the things I'm looking forward to is taking the two squirts on the field after a big win and let them embrace it with me. I look at David Klemmer with all his little boys. I want that proud feeling in my life. I'm proud of a lot of things I've done in my life but this will take the cake."

Reynolds informed new Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire of his life-changing news last week. The coach wanted to make sure his five-eighth was in a good frame of mind.

Josh Reynolds was stuck on the sidelines for much of 2018.
Josh Reynolds was stuck on the sidelines for much of 2018. ©NRL Photos

"He said to me be proud of it," Reynolds said.

"He said to me are you proud? I said 100%. This is not the cliched story of being with someone for five years - but it's our way. This is the way we're doing it. I don't care what anyone says.

"So I went upstairs to a team meeting. We were doing an activity to get to know our teammates better. We had to answer three questions - what are your strengths, what do you have to improve and what's something your teammates don't know about you. I thought it was the perfect time to tell them that I was having twins and the boys just erupted. They went off. It was a cool moment.

"I honestly think it's going to be one of the best things that can happen for my footy too. One of my worst traits is that I can't let go of stuff. Losses and bad performances haunt me.

"You look at guys with kids after games in the sheds after their loss and they have the biggest smile on their faces when they see their kids. It's hard to understand when you don't have kids, thinking 'how can they smile after that?'.

"But I've spoken to some really important influences in my life and they said the feeling you get becoming a father puts everything into perspective. Footy is massive. Always has been for me. But for once in my life I'm going to put something else before footy - and that's these two little kids."

A lot is going to have to change in Reynolds' life. His party-going ways. And he will reluctantly part ways with his Mercedes C63.

"Sadly it's time for a family car now," he said.

Wests Tigers five-eighth Josh Reynolds.
Wests Tigers five-eighth Josh Reynolds. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

But he's hoping the biggest change, apart from the expected birth of twins in May, is his body.

"Last year was the worst year I ever had," he said.

"I get FOMO [fear of missing out] and I hated missing out. It's honestly so hard watching the boys go through these real highs and lows. You just want to be a part of it.

"It's why I went down to Melbourne, with our physio Pete Moussa, to work with hamstring specialists who have actually worked with Manchester United. They told me the more you tear your hamstrings, the higher risk you are at doing them again. Then your age comes into factor.

For once in my life I'm going to put something else before footy.

Josh Reynolds

"It didn't look good for me at 29 having done a couple of hammies. If I didn't stop the rot, it was going to keep happening. We did some intense testing and I have been following their advice with some exercises and tips and I feel great.

"My confidence is back and I feel like I'm ready to get back to the player I know I can be. I’m happy.

"To have these two kids on the way, it’s the proudest moment of my life and I know my life is going to change but I’m so happy and all I want to do is be the best dad I can be and give these two kids the best possible chance in life."