If Josh Reynolds did something to anger Tariq Sims on Sunday, the Wests Tigers playmaker wasn't aware of exactly what he did. That's what he says, anyway.
The Dragons second-rower hammered Reynolds, who was a late halves addition in the absence of Luke Brooks, as he went to the line throughout the Tigers' 24-14 round one victory at WIN Stadium.
One particularly heavy shot in the 76th minute resulted in Sims receiving a one-week suspension for high contact.
"I thought he was half my mate!" Reynolds laughed to NRL.com after his first starting appearance since round seven last season.
"It's good man, it's good to get back in the game like that, cop a couple of knocks. That's what it's all about."
The rough treatment didn't discourage Reynolds from engaging the defence before passing, with the smaller man always bouncing to his feet and even firing back verbally.
"It brings me into the game in a weird way," Reynolds said.
"He [Sims] is coming to get me and then sometimes he overchases. He definitely got the better of me, I'm not going to lie, but that's what it's all about. I sort of don't like not going to the line I guess, so if I'm going to go to the line that's what's going to happen."
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With Brooks expected to miss another month due to a calf injury, Reynolds will remain in the halves alongside Benji Marshall, who was magnificent against his old club in Wollongong.
"He was honestly amazing mate, far out," Reynolds said of the 35-year-old after he set up two tries and scored one himself.
"I've never played [in the halves] with him before. I've played with Brooksy before. It's just another combination that hopefully we can grow. [Marshall] is getting better with age, he's like a red wine.
"I'm happy to play off the back of him and I'll tinker my game, because he played more like a halfback."
After a turbulent off-season which began with him being told he was free to find another club despite having two years left on his contract and then being cleared of well-documented legal issues with his former partner, Reynolds was thrilled to be on the field, delivering for his teammates.
He spent the pre-season training at hooker, where he was meant to play off the bench, but said five-eighth was his preferred role.
The 30-year-old gained confidence from coach Michael Maguire's trust in him to fill Brooks's boots and he projected that on to the players around him before the match.
"I just tried to tell the boys, look, I've done it all before and don't be worried," said the former NSW Origin No.6, who played in two grand finals for Canterbury as a pivot.
"I could sort of see the boys were a bit [concerned], because Brooksy, mate, he's our general. He's the team, he really is. We know how good he's been the last couple of years. It would be weird if the boys didn't have some sort of feeling towards it.
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"I tried to address it straight away. Copped a bit of slap from the boys already about it, but you know what, I'm just happy to slot back in."
The Tigers face Newcastle at Leichhardt Oval this Sunday. Reynolds is anticipating a tough challenge after the Knights held the Warriors scoreless in a first-up victory.
"It's always a hard game, hey. Pearcey [Mitchell Pearce] is one of my good mates, he knows the game so well and he'll try and pick us apart," he said.
"And that big boofhead [David] Klemmer is also a good mate of mine. If we come back with that same attitude and resilience with a bit more silkiness ... hopefully we can get another win on the board."