Reynolds to fire for Broncos against old club: Walters

Joel Gould |

Broncos captain Adam Reynolds is tipped to thrive against his old club South Sydney.
Broncos captain Adam Reynolds is tipped to thrive against his old club South Sydney.

Kevin Walters has backed Brisbane captain Adam Reynolds to return to his best in the clash against his former club South Sydney.

The opening NRL fixture of round two on Thursday night at Suncorp Stadium has plenty of subplots but none more mouth watering than the showdown between Reynolds and Souths halfback Lachlan Ilias. 

It is the usurper up against the usurped.

Ilias wears the No.7 jersey that the Broncos maestro won the 2014 premiership in at the Rabbitohs.

South Sydney elected to back Ilias as their long-term half at the end of 2021 when Reynolds was seeking a longer deal at the club he starred for in 231 NRL games.

Ilias, 23, led the Rabbitohs to the 2022 finals series but last year was in a team that did not fire. He was unable to reach the highs of the season before.

Reynolds, 33, was a key factor in the Broncos reaching last year’s grand final where they lost 26-24 to Penrith.

The Brisbane talisman had a poor final 20 minutes that contributed to the loss.

He was also out-pointed by Sydney Roosters half Sam Walker in the 20-10 round-one loss in Las Vegas.

“We have a lot of faith and confidence in Reyno,” Walters said.

“Playing against your old club is always a big occasion and Reyno is no different.

“I am sure he will be right to go and lead the side the way only Adam can lead.”

Kevin Walters and Adam Reynolds.
Coach Kevin Walters and Adam Reynolds look on during a Broncos training session. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS)

Walters said the final moments of the grand final would not linger for his veteran skipper.

“I don’t think the end of last year has impacted him,” Walters said.

“For Adam it is all about playing his best football. How he does that is he passes well, he kicks well and he defends well. It is pretty simple for him. That is what we expect him to do.”

Walters, who won five of his six premierships with the Broncos in the halves, knows full well that big clubs like Brisbane and Souths expect their halves to take games and seasons by the scruff of the neck and deliver regular finals appearances. 

He would not buy-in to there being more pressure on Ilias.

“My focus is our players. That is where my vision is,” he said.

“(South Sydney) are all a threat. They can score points and the big focus for us this year is our defence and making sure we get that right.”

Walters was asked if prop Payne Haas was right to play after there were question marks over his fitness.

“He is fine. It is just a little (knee) niggle there that happened a couple of weeks ago. It is one to 17.”

One of the teams will start the season with two first-up losses. Both have difficult games in the opening six rounds against the competition heavyweights and the pressure will be on the loser.

“We have both got tough draws but you don’t win the grand final in March and you don’t lose it either,” Walters said.

“We are expecting to play well and win. That is what we do here.”