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Tough loss to swallow but Reynolds stays positive

Wests Tigers playmaker Josh Reynolds went within millimetres of capping off a dream return to first grade after 18 months in the rugby league wilderness.

A torpedo-like field goal attempt that bounced off the left upright and into the hands of Penrith's Viliame Kikau summed up the Tigers' bad luck in the latter stages of their 9-8 extra time loss on Friday night.

But for Reynolds, in his first game back since round 16 last year, the former Bulldog couldn't have put in a more complete performance to send a reminder to coach Michael Maguire and his Tigers teammates he's determined to feature in first grade.

"I've nailed a lot of those field goals," Reynolds said after the loss.

"That's rugby league, it's a funny game. Sometimes it's kind and other times it's cruel to you. I'm going to take plenty from that – good and bad."

Reynolds spoke of his anxiousness ahead of his return to the field via the Intrust Super Premiership for Western Suburbs a fortnight ago.

Tigers five-eighth Josh Reynolds takes aim for the field goal that hit the upright in the 9-8 loss to Penrith.
Tigers five-eighth Josh Reynolds takes aim for the field goal that hit the upright in the 9-8 loss to Penrith. ©Robb Cox/NRL Photos

But this time around, with the help of his teammates, the nerves never arrived.

"It's weird I wasn't, I spoke to the physios this week and thought why am I not nervous," he said.

"You're walking around with these types of boys and they give you confidence. Going back to premier league it was a bit different, I thought there was more pressure.

"But here I know I've just got to do my job."

Match Highlights: Panthers v Wests Tigers

If Maguire was looking for a positive response from Reynolds, he got one.

He set up both the Tigers' tries for Corey Thompson and Ryan Matterson with pinpoint grubbers, while his all-round game was solid enough to earn strong reviews in an otherwise dour contest.

"To see Josh Reynolds run around out there and do the things he was doing, he added a lot to us tonight," Maguire said.

"He's been very patient around getting his game back to where he wants to get to, I thought he did a lot of good things for us."

Reynolds was looking forward to taking advantage of his opportunity over the next fortnight in injured teammate Benji Marshall's absence.

"I just enjoyed being back on that stage. That's why you train and put all this work into your body," he said.

"If I can get that [kicking] touch and add that dimension to my game it can only help the team and that's what I need to do.

"There's definitely some good signs there. We'll be sweet."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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