After months of speculation it has been confirmed that Josh Reynolds will return to the Canterbury Bulldogs on a 12-week train-and-trail contract.
The former New South Wales star will be paid just $1000 a week in this period, with a view to securing a permanent deal that would see him return to the NRL and his boyhood club.
Reynolds, 33, left Belmore at the end of 2017 after seven seasons with the Bulldogs. He went on to spend three seasons with the Wests Tigers before joining Hull FC ahead of the 2021 campaign.
The halfback showed flashes of brilliance in Super League, and was reported to be the highest paid player in the club’s history, but he left the Airlie Birds in June this year after a mutual agreement to terminate his contract early.
Now though it looks like Reynolds has a career lifeline in the NRL with the club where it all started, and in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald he admitted it was a mistake to leave in the first place.
“It’s given me everything, this club. I wish I never left,” Reynolds admitted to the Herald.
“I’ve always chased the feeling I had here. Money comes and goes, I want to finish… where I belong. A big thing for me at any club I’ve been at is to try and get people together. My best and fondest memories are here (in Belmore) – a place where I had so many hard times but so many good times.
“No one remembers me as a Tigers or Hull FC player, everyone always embraces me as a Bulldogs player.”
Reynolds was part of a star-studded Bulldogs team in the early 2010s, a group that included the likes of club stalwarts James Graham and Aiden Tolman, reaching the 2014 NRL Grand Final where they were beaten by South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Around the same period as reaching the NRL’s showpiece event, Reynolds was the News South Wales Blues’ starting stand-off, and he was rated as one of the most valuable players in the game.
Despite injury problems and a struggles with form, he maintained a high reputation and earned big deals, firstly with the Wests Tigers and then in England with Hull FC.
Both of those stints were somewhat underwhelming as Reynolds struggled to live up to the high price tags and expectations, leading to controversial exits and as of recently, a career that was fading out.
However, the experienced playmaker might have one last hurrah with his beloved Bulldogs and it seems he is determined to make the most of the opportunity despite strong competition from those coming through the ranks at Belmore.
“The ball is in my court,” said Reynolds. “My goal is to get in the Top 30. I’m coming up against 18 year olds and I’m 33, but that doesn’t scare me.
“If I’m being honest, I want to play first grade every week. There’s no shying away from that. I don’t want to come here and just train the house down.
“I don’t care what position I play, if I’m a utility off the bench I’ll love that.
“I know I’m not going to be a superstar, but I’ll do what needs to be done whether that’s helping a 16-year-old come through the grades and make him realise what it takes to be a Bulldog, or if it’s me playing first grade.
“I need to give back to this club that has given me so much in my life.”