Tiger doesn’t change its stripes so Grub must earn re­spect

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - SPORT - MICHAEL CARAYANNIS

NIGGLER: Wests Tigers re­cruit Josh Reynolds in his new kit at Con­cord Oval. Pic­ture: Sam Rut­tyn JOSH Reynolds feared his new Wests Tigers team­mates hated him, given his role as chief an­tag­o­nist at Can­ter­bury.

Sit­ting as he over­looked his new base at Con­cord Oval this week, Reynolds has over­come his ini­tial fears.

“They prob­a­bly hated me be­fore this, let’s face it,” said Reynolds, whose nick­name is Grub.

“Re­spect is earnt. I’m not com­ing here think­ing this guy should like or re­spect me. I’m here and I’m go­ing to train here and try and get a friend­ship with not only the play­ers, but ev­ery­one else at the club.”

After com­plet­ing his first few days as a Tiger, Reynolds has spo­ken about his tur­bu­lent 2017 sea­son, his hopes of form­ing a lethal com­bi­na­tion with Luke Brooks and how he plans to bring the same pas­sion which was his trade­mark at the Bull­dogs.

“I was so ner­vous com­ing in,” he said.

“It didn’t hit me un­til I was about 15 min­utes away from the ground. You want ev­ery­one to like you.

“The footy part will take care of it­self. We have a whole off-sea­son to work on it. I’ve been play­ing for a while now.

“That isn’t daunt­ing. But you want to create new friend­ships. When I got my first bit of gear it was a lit­tle bit weird.

“It wasn’t blue and white. I don’t go home and say ‘I can’t be­lieve I’m in this’. I’m go­ing to take it with both hands.

“I know I grew up in Bel­more but I want to create the same con­cept here.

“I’m do­ing what I love, which is play­ing rugby league.”

The easy de­ci­sion for Reynolds would have been to sign with Cronulla.

He lives in the Suther­land Shire and the Sharks were com­ing off the back of their first premier­ship.

The Tigers have not played fi­nals football since 2011.

“The one thing that got me over the line to come here was my talk with (coach) Ivan (Cleary) and he told me that ‘I just need you to be Josh Reynolds’,” Reynolds said.

“That made me feel re­ally good. He knows what I’m about.”

His com­bi­na­tion with Brooks looms as a vi­tal cog for any suc­cess the Tigers will have. The duo will bat­tle it out with vet­eran Benji Mar­shall for start­ing spots.

“He is that much more ta­lented than me,” Reynolds said.

“I want to be the bloke to make sure he never doubts him­self.

“Hope­fully me be­ing here and be­ing a good in­flu­ence on him.”

The in­jury-plagued Reynolds de­scribed his fi­nal sea­son at the Bull­dogs as “drain­ing’’.

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