Adam Reynolds is ready to learn from his mistakes and guide South Sydney into their first NRL grand final since 1971.
Those in the know at South Sydney believe Adam Reynolds has learnt from his undeniable role in the Rabbitohs’ preliminary finals choke last season against Manly.
Up 14-0 and with a first grand final appearance since 1971 within reach, the Rabbitohs and their playmaking general simply froze and waited for the Sea Eagles to romp home.
Reynolds passed his first coming-of-age test with flying colours against Manly in Friday’s playoff opener, but the challenge is now for the Souths No.7 to step up again when a grand final berth is on the line.
Michael Crocker was South Sydney’s skipper for the first of two failed preliminary finals attempts in 2012, when Reynolds hurt his ankle in a loss to Canterbury.
The former Queensland forward was part of the Rabbitohs camp when they again fell short against Manly, but he’s convinced the team and Reynolds in particular won’t make the same mistakes again.
“Of course he learned a lesson last year,” Crocker told AAP.
“Last year they got a bit defensive. It’s about mindset and knowledge of what you’re doing.
“Especially with the halves, they’re the ones that have to be controlling it.
“If they go away from the plan everyone else will as well.
“It would have taught the boys to have say let’s have a look at what went wrong there and if we get in this situation in a big game again, we’ll be a lot more prepared to handle it.
“Now it’s a matter of going out there and doing it.”
Another Souths star who played poorly against Manly last year was hooker, Issac Luke, who came up with some uncharacteristic errors out of dummy half.
But Crocker says Luke’s form of late has added a different dimension to the Rabbitohs of 2014.
“They’ve learnt what game suits them and utilising their big men. When Issac is running like that it makes everyone else’s job so much easier,” he said.
“It’s all about execution and once you get in those situations where there’s a bit of pressure, it’s just having that composure to know to keep doing what we usually do.”
Crocker says he’s a big fan of John Sutton being given a licence to pop up where he sees fit in the forwards and allowing enthusiastic young halves Reynolds and Luke Keary to be given the responsibility of running the show.
“I think the balance of the team is amazing,” he said.