Josh Reynolds is preparing to let NRL return to the Bulldogs after a six-year absence from Belmore

As he prepares for his first game with Canterbury in almost six years, Josh Reynolds admits he’s doubted himself more than ever regarding his unlikely quest for the blue and white suit.

Reynolds left the Bulldogs in late 2017 to accept a more lucrative offer at the Wests Tigers but never reached the heights he achieved in two separate runs to the Grand Finals with his beloved Canterbury.

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After two years with Hull FC in England, the five-eight was at a crossroads at the age of 33 and considering retirement.

It was then that an opportunity presented itself to rejoin the Bulldogs – the club where he had played 138 NRL games in seven seasons – on a train and trial contract.

On his return to Australia, Reynolds capitalized on that opportunity to a full-time contract and eventually a spot on the bench for Sunday’s fifth-round home game against North Queensland.

“If I try to explain that to someone ten years later, I won’t be able to because it was such a different ride for me,” Reynolds said.

Josh Reynolds celebrates a try against the Sharks in preseason. Credit: AAP image

“The relief, the joy I’m going to get on Sunday walking out with these guys is going to be something special.”

The road back to the NRL tested the Reynolds physically and mentally. More than once he thought he was no longer able to keep up with his teammates who were up to 15 years his junior.

“It was probably the most self-doubt I’ve ever had, to be honest. I struggled with that,” he said.

“I’ve never really had a lot of self-doubt because you know your body will be fine.

“But on the first day, when I started training, I was nervous. Then I did the first fitness test and that made me even more nervous.”

A training injury put even more pressure on Reynolds as he tried to convince coach Cameron Ciraldo and general manager Phil Gould that he was worthy of a full-time contract.

“I had a little hammy (hamstring injury) in the middle, which again wasn’t good timing just because I only had 12 weeks to prove myself,” he said.

Josh Reynolds is carried off the field after the Bulldogs defeated the Newcastle Knights at Belmore in 2017. Credit: AAP image

“The whole question Gus and Ciro had was will your body keep up?

“I’m glad it wasn’t easy. I’m glad I didn’t just walk in here and have to do what I did here before. I wanted to prove myself.”

Sunday’s game not only offers Reynolds an opportunity to represent his beloved Bulldogs again, but also to ensure he finishes his career on the terms he had always hoped for.

“If I talk about it 10 years from now, if I talk to my son and daughter about my football career, I would have been a little bitter if I had ended it (in England),” he said.

“I’ve lost a bit of love for the game over those five years, but only because I loved it so much here.

“Now that I can talk about ending it here at the club I love, that all changes. It is worth it.”

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Why Bulldogs star Josh Reynolds became a ‘series copywriter’ Josh Reynolds is preparing to let NRL return to the Bulldogs after a six-year absence from Belmore

James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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