‘I’ve learnt more in 12 weeks than the last five years’: Reynolds hails Ciraldo effect

Josh Reynolds has lost count of how often someone has come up to him at pre-season training and asked: “Who says you can’t teach an old Dog new tricks?”

Reynolds, 33, says it is easy to learn when listening to rookie head coach Cameron Ciraldo.

“I can honestly say I’ve learnt a lot more in the last 12 weeks than I have the last five years, and that’s [because of] ‘Ciro’ [Ciraldo],” Reynolds said. “His attention to detail is like nothing I have ever seen.

“I was having a chat to one of the younger boys this week, and I told them, ‘Stay here as long as you can and learn as much as you can, because if I was 17 and coming into this squad, it would have helped my game a lot’.

“I’ve learnt about little areas in defence. I didn’t realise how much my movement could help or hinder the people inside and outside me. Ciro shows you that.

Josh Reynolds pulls on Canterbury colours for the first time in 1988 days on Sunday.Credit:Kate Geraghty

“I had a bad habit of not using my left shoulder, but the way I stand now, it feels a lot more comfortable … I can see why Penrith have been so good defensively for a few years.”

Reynolds, affectionately known as “Grubby”, will wear Bulldogs colours for the first time in 1988 days when he starts at five-eighth against Canberra in the first trial on Sunday. Expect some emotional scenes before kick-off in Moruya.

Ciraldo said this week he could not recall meeting a player with such a love for a club. Reynolds didn’t think he’d be back after stints with Wests Tigers and Hull FC.

He is treating every day at the club as a bonus, as Benji Marshall did when the welcome mat was surprisingly rolled out by the Tigers for his return in 2018.

Reynolds’ energy off the bench in the No.14 jersey is a great option for Ciraldo. He could even start at halfback, alongside Matt Burton, if he continues to work hard and put pressure on Kyle Flanagan.

Bulldogs head coach Cameron Ciraldo at Belmore Sportsground.Credit:Louie Douvis

Reynolds was quick to dismiss such talk, saying Flanagan deserved a shot at directing the Bulldogs around the park.

“I want what’s best for this team,” Reynolds said. “It’s Kyle’s jersey right now. He deserves a crack, and if there’s any way I can help him be better in that jersey, I will.

“It’s not about Josh Reynolds any more. It’s about me making this club a better place.

“The way Flanno has been portrayed – when I met him I was like, ‘Is this the same guy?’ He’s had a cracking pre-season, he’s confident and I think he will shut a lot of people up. He’s also got good people around him who are backing him.

“I want to see these boys here for many years. I want to be here for many years, in the background, knowing I’ve helped out this team in some way.”

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