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Reynolds poised to surpass Rabbitohs royalty

Adam Reynolds is set to surpass Rabbitohs royalty and also become one of the premiership's top 10 scorers of all-time as he closes in on breaking the legendary Eric Simms's club record.

The Broncos-bound halfback only needs eight points in Friday night's clash with the Eels to overtake Simms' mark of 1841 – which has been the Bunnies' benchmark since the former Kangaroos fullback retired in 1975. attempted to contact Simms but unfortunately, his wife Charlene said the 76-year-old has been in ill health, living in aged care for the past 18 months, and was not in a position to speak.

However, Mrs Simms said the family believe Eric "would be over the moon" that Reynolds, a proud local junior, would be the man to break his record.

Simms, who played 206 premiership matches and won four grand finals with the Rabbitohs, was renowned for his kicking prowess.

He was an outstanding goal-kicker – booting 803 during a revered 11-season premiership career in cardinal and myrtle – but the Indigenous champion's lasting legacy is his peerless field goal prowess.

Such was Simms' ability – he once nailed a record five field goals in a match and tallied 86 in total – it's said he was the catalyst for the NSWRFL reducing field goals from two to one point in 1971.

However, Simms has been quoted as saying he didn't think he was the reason for the change: "But over the years so many people told me I was the cause that there must be something to it."

While Simms' points haul was inflated by his swag of two-point field goals, it's worth remembering he had to kick leather footballs and didn't benefit from the use of a plastic tee for conversions. And his 23 career tries were worth only three points in his era.

It's taken an elite marksman in Reynolds, who grew up down the road from Redfern Oval and played for several local junior clubs (including, like Simms, La Perouse), to come close to the record.

Bernie Purcell, a goal-kicking Rabbitohs forward from 1949-1960, is the only other player to post 1000 points for the club.

Modern players Nathan Merritt (fifth – 653 points), current try-scoring machine Alex Johnston (10th – 520 points) and Reynolds's playmaking predecessor Chris Sandow (12th – 483 points) are further back on the list.

South Sydney's veteran coach Wayne Bennett can remember Simms' playing days and said on Thursday it was fitting Reynolds would break his milestone.

"It is quite an achievement and I think it has probably been underplayed right now but he is very close to that record," he said.

"Eric Simms was a great player. I can remember him, as a little boy, playing for South Sydney and what a great reputation he had. It is quite a record, it has been there for a long time and I can't think of a nicer guy than Adam to break it.

"I am sure Eric would agree that he is worthy. It won't be broken again for a long time. Adam is playing good football at the moment. He is happy and looking forward to his future but he also wants to do the best he can for Souths before he goes."

Reynolds boasts an excellent goal-kicking success rate of 82.11% after 224 matches, winning many a game with his right boot.

And the diminutive playmaker channelled Simms when he memorably drilled three field goals to get South Sydney home in the 2018 semi-final against St George Illawarra at Stadium Australia.

In another piece of symmetry, Reynolds became the first player of the NRL era to kick a two-point field goal in round five this season against Brisbane, launching from well beyond the 40-metre line.

If he is able to bank eight more points in a Rabbitohs jersey, Reynolds will replace Simms as the 10th-highest scorer in premiership history.

Cameron Smith's record of 2786 points might be too hard to catch, but a healthy Reynolds – whose Broncos contract runs until the end of 2024 – could conceivably leapfrog illustrious names like Graham Eadie, Mick Cronin, Daryl Halligan, Jason Taylor, Andrew Johns and Johnathan Thurston.

Hazem El Masri could also end up in his sights while Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker continues to creep up on Smith.

The 31-year-old Souths skipper edged closer to Simms with an 18-point haul against the Dragons last weekend – seven goals and a try and his teammates hope he can keep that form going.

"I'd love to see him get that point-scoring record. He's been here for such a long time," hooker Damien Cook said this week.

"I know he's moving on but he deserves that record and hopefully we can do everything we can to make sure he does [get it].

"A couple more chip-and-chases and scoring himself will make it a lot easier on him. It was a lovely little play [against the Dragons], old school halfback stuff, it's good to see he's still got that in his trick bag."

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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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