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Phil Gould says too early to tell on Souths’ call on Adam Reynolds


Life without Adam Reynolds got off to an inauspicious start for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in Round One, but there’s more to the story than a player comparison between old halfback and new.

The argument isn’t as simple as ‘Adam Reynolds is currently better than Lachlan Ilias’, which is how it has been framed by many who relished in the Bunnies’ shock 11-4 loss to the Broncos.

Pretty much everyone has had their say on the situation – but Phil Gould believes it’s too early to condemn the Rabbitohs for making one of the toughest decisions in club history.

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“From the outside looking in it seems like a big loss, and they are big losses,” he said on Wide World of Sports’ Six Tackles with Gus podcast.

“But if you go back to Wayne Bennett’s history, clubs have always struggled when Wayne Bennett’s left the club, so I think South Sydney have handled it better than anyone else in having that transition period where they actually had the incoming coach working with him for a couple of years knowing that Wayne was going.”

Jason Demetriou stepped into the top job after his time as one of Bennett’s assistants, while Reynolds was offered a one-year deal by Souths, but opted for the long-term security being offered by Brisbane.

Change can be difficult to accept, particularly when it’s a beloved clubman like Reynolds being moved on, yet Gould has been around long enough to see the end come quickly, even for champions.

“Everyone jumps up and down because they remember them as the great player that they were and why has this got to change, but the people at the club know what they’re doing and they usually get it right, so I think any questioning of what Souths have done here is a little bit premature,” Gould said.

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The loss of Reynolds was felt in their upset opening round loss to the halfback’s new club, but you could argue the absence of Dane Gagai, who was outstanding for Newcastle on Saturday, was felt even more.

The Bunnies’ backline looked clunky and disjointed at times, as their usually smooth left side stuttered.

Undoubtedly the return of Latrell Mitchell tonight will help, but it’s clear that there will be growing pains in this new era at Redfern.

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