NRL: Adam Reynolds shoulder injury means New South Wales will need to find a new halfback for game three, but former Blue Adam MacDougall believes it should come from within.
IN GOOD news for NSW fans, Adam Reynolds could yet be a starter for Origin III, with the little halfback hoping to run out for South Sydney in eight days time.
Reynolds told The Saturday Telegraph on Friday night that MRI scans had cleared him of a serious shoulder injury, and he had in fact two slipped discs in his neck.
The NSW No. 7 was forced from Suncorp Stadium midway through the second half on Wednesday night after he was collected in an innocent tackle by Aidan Guerra.
He received a cortisone on Friday, and was relieved the injury would not mean an extended time on the sidelines.
Blues’ coach Laurie Daley is sure to welcome the news, especially if Reynolds returns for Souths next Sunday against Johnathan Thurston’s North Queensland Cowboys in Cairns.
Souths have the bye the following week, meaning Reynolds only has the Cowboys’ clash prior to the final Origin game on July 13 at ANZ Stadium.
“The initial thoughts weren’t too good, the doctors assessed it on the night and there was a fair bit of pain there,’’ Reynolds said.
“I’m definitely relieved it’s nothing too serious.
“There was some wear and tear on the shoulder, and two slipped discs in the neck. There will be no surgery on the shoulder. Now it’s about getting it right and making sure I’m fully confident going out and playing footy.
“Hopefully it settles down in the next week.’’
Reynolds said if all went well, he would step up his preparations at the end of next week. The eight-day turnaround from Friday’s trip to Penrith and the trip to Cairns will work in Reynolds’ favour.
As there was plenty of mystery surrounding the return date of Reynolds _-the early prognosis was a lengthy stint — debate quickly started about his halfback replacement for the Origin dead rubber.
Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan endorsed his pair James Maloney and Jack Bird, with Bird a Rookie of the Year winner in the No. 6 jumper, and Maloney capable of calling the shots.
“Birdy played all of last year in the halves, he fancies himself there, and while he’s doing a really good job in the centres, if there’s an injury or a change to one of my halves, Birdy is the first one in there. He’s a ready-made half,’’ Flanagan told The Saturday Telegraph.
“They’d be fine together (for Origin).
“Birdy for me is an Origin player long-term. He handled it with no problems at all, he got the ball a couple of times and made half breaks. Who knows what will happen in game three, but hopefully he gets more game time again.’’
While Cronulla’s Origin quartet of Maloney, Bird and Paul Gallen and Andrew Fifita lost for NSW, Flanagan hopes it’s a different story for the Origin players when they wear the Sharks’ shade of blue against the Warriors.
Flanagan said Gallen would definitely play, and shot down suggestions he was a selfish player who needed to ditch the Origin arena.
“I know what Gal means to us and what he means to NSW. I know what he means to Australia after he was man of the match. Gus can say what he wants,’’ Flanagan said.
“I dismiss those comments about him being selfish and greedy. He’s always been team first. He’s been one of NSW’s best players.’’