Most Souths fans were already devastated. Reynolds was forced to leave to sign a three-year deal with Brisbane.
But Reynolds himself would be heartbroken by his final appearance in red and green.
His deadly right boot broke all sets of records and won no shortage of games for Souths.
An unreliable groin made him hesitate to score pre-match goals, but he couldn’t have sweetened the conversion and field goal.
South Sydney did a remarkable job of staying in the game for so long.
They barely had a ball, and when they did they were never in a decent field position to put serious pressure on Penrith.
The one time they did it came after a penalty and it took some Cody Walker magic to score.
Walker himself is said to have been stripped full-time after his cut pass for Johnston was intercepted by Stephen Crichton for a try in the 67th minute.
Nathan Cleary produced an identical pass for Crichton in last year’s decider, only for Melbourne’s Suliasi Vunivalu to try and try the 90m.
Cleary was one of the first players to face Walker after his mistake. Walker didn’t appreciate the antics as Phil Gould said of the coverage: “That’s such a shame for Cody Walker because he’s been great. It would be terrible for him if the game was decided by one pass.”
Walker, like Reynolds, had a brilliant year and deserves to hold his head high.
When the TV footage showed Reynolds doing well to hold back the tears, Cameron Murray heard a lump in his throat when asked about his halfback, saying: “I can’t put into words how much he cares for this club. I’m so proud of him and it was an honor to play with him for the early years of my career.”
What didn’t help Souths was the loss of Jai Arrow after halftime after he suffered delayed symptoms of a concussion.
Arrow was taken off the field after being clocked by Viliame Kikau, came back five minutes later and stayed on for the last 15 minutes of the first half. But after feeling dizzy in the sheds, Arrow had to watch the rest of the game from the sidelines.
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