Josh Reynolds of the Tigers celebrates with teammates.
Josh Reynolds of the Tigers celebrates with teammates.

Reynolds reveals surprise new role in Tigers’ attack

WESTS Tigers recruit Josh Reynolds has revealed the surprise role he could play in Ivan Cleary's revamped attack in 2018.

And it's designed to allow veteran playmaker Benji Marshall into the side in what could be his final year in the NRL.

Reynolds is the club's star signing and he'll slot into the halves alongside club junior Luke Brooks.

But that leaves Marshall as the odd man out, as even Cleary isn't clever enough to squeeze three players into two jerseys.

But Marshall certainly won't be out in the cold altogether.

Reynolds revealed he will likely jump into hooker at times during games to allow Marshall to come off the bench and play in the halves.

Corey Thompson and Josh Reynolds of the Tigers react after scoring a try.
Corey Thompson and Josh Reynolds of the Tigers react after scoring a try.

There's still a question mark over the Tigers' No. 9 jumper, but it appears Matt McIllwrick will occupy it at least until youngster Jacob Liddle recovers from off-season shoulder surgery.

And if Marshall starts on the bench, he will enter the play in place of McIllwrick, jumping into either a hooker or five-eighth role.

"Ivan's already had a word to me about this ... hopefully I'm the starting six ... but obviously you want Benji in the team," Reynolds said.

"At some stage Ivan wants all three of us to be on the field at one time, and Ivan has actually said to me I'll go into hooker at stages.

"I'm fine with that. The last couple of trials I went in for 10 or 15 minutes.

 

"I've done it before when I was young, and even when I was lucky enough to get into the Origin arena I was coming off the bench in a bit of a hooking role.

Josh Reynolds on the run for Wests Tigers.
Josh Reynolds on the run for Wests Tigers.

"So it's nothing new to me. I'm not going to say to Ivan I only want to play five-eighth because whatever is best for the team I'll do."

Marshall's role within the club has been the subject of debate since he signed with the club he won a premiership with in 2005.

But Reynolds' comments make it clear Cleary plans to have Marshall in his best 17.

And Reynolds himself has been reinvigorated by the move from Belmore to Concord in the off-season.

He says he's loving life at the Tigers, having been stifled by Des Hasler's attacking style at the Bulldogs over the past two years.

Now Cleary has revamped the way Reynolds plays, which in turn is designed to spark the Wests Tigers' attack.

"At the Dogs, Des (Hasler) used to split the halves and we would control one side each. At the Tigers Brooksy has pretty much taken the role of steering the ship around, and I'm sort of playing out the back of him and popping up wherever need be," Reynolds said.

"Playing on both sides of the field has added a new dimension to my game. I'm having a lot of fun.

"Don't get me wrong, there's been a couple of hiccups ... I've missed being somewhere I'm meant to be. But I'm still learning and we're still learning as a team.

"I think the structure suits my game a bit more than (the Bulldogs) did."

The Tigers kick off their season proper on Saturday week against the Roosters.


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