Rabbitohs captain Adam Reynolds has been overwhelmed by support from South Sydney's fanbase ahead of a crucial meeting that will dictate whether he ramps up negotiations with NRL rivals.
Reynolds kissed the Bunnies logo after scoring a runaway try in Friday's 38-0 thumping of Canterbury, delivering a message not to South Sydney powerbrokers but the cardinal and myrtle faithful, he said afterwards.
The premiership-winning half and his management are expected to meet with Rabbitohs officials this week after the Cowboys opened discussions recently about luring him north next year.
If South Sydney stay firm on their one-year offer as expected, talks will then move to the next stage with North Queensland, who in turn have Michael Morgan's own uncertain future complicating matters on their end.
A glut of off-contract halves including Reynolds, Shaun Johnson, Matt Moylan, Tom Dearden, Anthony Milford, Ash Taylor, Chad Townsend and Mitchell Moses (both with 2022 player options in their favour) only adds further intrigue and potential suitors to the scenario.
Given Reynolds' oft repeated stance that a one-year offer is not palatable, any club registering interest in the 30-year-old does so knowing a two-year deal, preferably three, are the terms that will be entertained.
Reynolds kisses the jersey as he winds out the win
The Rabbitohs' hardline stance has made Reynolds' contract one of the most talked-about subjects this season, with almost 4,500 fans signing an online petition calling for his retention on a multi-year contract.
By comparison, the petition that did the rounds last year calling for a similar move with Alex Johnston finished with 2,653 signatures when he was eventually re-signed.
"It's for the fans, the fans have been terrific," Reynolds said of his post-try celebration on Friday.
"The messages of support have been a bit overwhelming, I didn't realise I had so much support going around. They've been fantastic, so that was a little message for the fans, a thank you.
"It's hard not to be [emotional]. You check your messages and you have hundreds of messages from supporters and members wishing you the best, whether it's to stay or to leave. They're very loyal."
South Sydney are juggling a tight salary cap beyond 2021 with Reynolds and Queensland Origin stars Dane Gagai and Jaydn Su'A all off-contract.
The club also has one eye on its succession plans around budding playmakers Blake Taafe (signed until 2022) and Lachlan Ilias (signed until 2023), both of whom are tipped for bright NRL futures.
Ilias's status as a young organising No.7 of considerable promise was done no harm in the curtain-raiser to the traditional Good Friday clash.
The 20-year-old booted a matchwinning, last minute field goal to get the Rabbitohs Jersey Flegg side home past Canterbury at Stadium Australia.
Reynolds meanwhile has not shown any indication of the contract saga affecting him on the paddock.
Match Highlights: Bulldogs v Rabbitohs
His 18-point haul against the Bulldogs capped an impressive opening month where his kicking game in both general play and off the tee still rates among the very best in the NRL.
Reynolds has always cited his four young kids as his priority whenever his future is discussed, and said they too are yet to grow concerned about their dad's long-term employment being public fodder so often.
"It's a part of life, it's a part of who I am as a person," Reynolds said.
"I can't control what's in the media or what's being written in the papers, my job is to go out there and play footy and that's what I tell the kids.
"They shouldn't have to worry about that stuff, they should be able to enjoy life as a kid and if the time comes when we have to move we'll have those conversations.
"But there's a lot that goes on before that decision is made. It's a slow process.
"We have to go over a number of things and work through certain situations. As long as it gets sorted out by November I'll be happy.
"I'm certainly in no rush. My job is to turn up week in, week out, play good consistent football and win games for South Sydney."