The challenging pathway from junior footy to first grade just became more attainable in the minds of South Sydney’s Harold Mathews and SG Ball players after a visit from Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds during the week.
In an attempt to encourage budding talent at the Club, Rabbitohs first grade players will now spend more quality time with junior representative sides to pass on their knowledge and provide role models that players can relate to – and they don’t come more relatable than Adam Reynolds.
A Souths Junior himself (a product of Kensington United), it wasn’t all that long ago that Reynolds showed his wares in the Junior Bunnies program as well as Harold Mathews and SG Ball outfits. Now, after making his first grade debut in 2012, Reynolds is a positive local example for those currently representing Souths’ lower grades.
“You could just see that those young blokes lit up just having him there – especially because not that long ago he was in exactly the same position as them as a local junior,” said Rabbitohs coaching staff member and former international Matt King.
“Obviously Renno took a real keen interest in the kickers in the group, and the boys were just queuing up to get a few tips off him, before he helped the two sides with their attacking shapes.”
According to King, Reynolds’ presence at Erskineville Oval was far from a token appearance, citing Reynolds’ genuine interest in helping developing footballers.
“He was down there for over two hours,” said King.
“Renno really wanted to be there and you could see that he was enjoying teaching these boys.
“It’s really important for these kids to have that kind of exposure to a first grader, especially a local junior, plus he’s a good bloke and the kids really warm to him.
“For kids who really want to play first grade, it’s enormous to be exposed to that kind of quality of player, and in some ways it opens up the pathway for them and makes them believe that it’s possible.”
But the positives don’t end there, with King pointing out the mutual benefits of the visits on players who are considering a career in coaching following retirement.
“There’s plenty of current players who really want to help out – some of them even because they want to go into coaching when they retire, so this is also an opportunity for them to really get a taste of that environment.
“There’s a lot of pluses in there and it’s beneficial on both sides.”
For a look at the 2014 Junior representative schedule as well as results, please click here.