South Sydney captain Adam Reynolds was praised for his stylish response just moments after losing the NRL Grand Final 14-12 to Penrith.
The Rabbitohs had a chance to take the win in the last 10 minutes, but the star halfback made a few mistakes he would rather forget.
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After Alex Johnston scored in the corner, Reynolds could have set the score at 14 had he scored the conversion, but his kick started to the right of the post and didn’t go back far enough.
Then, with only a few minutes left, he attempted a two-point field goal from beyond 40 yards in one last breath to get the Bunnies back in the game.
But he made a bad connection on his drop kick and it fell well short, shattering any hopes South Sydney had of making a comeback.
It was a heartbreaking way for Reynolds to finish his career in green and red.
Earlier this year, it was announced that the Rabbitohs had let the 31-year-old go and that he would go to the Brisbane Broncos next season.
Speaking to Channel 9 right after full-time, Reynolds was understandably shattered that he couldn’t get his team across the line.
“I felt like we hung out there all night,” he said.
“Of course I had a chance there at the end. Didn’t come up with the result in the end. Expect to get them (shots on target) but just missed.
“We wanted to put more pressure on them. Obviously they are a quality side, they are hard to break down and they have a great defense system. We found it hard to come out of our way. “We kept fighting and fighting until the end, but they were too good tonight.”
When asked to nominate his favorite memory of his time in South Sydney, Reynolds said he would miss the fans the most if he moves from the Redfern-based club.
“I’m not so sure,” he said. “It’s probably something I’ll think about over the next few days.
“The one that stands out are the fans. They’ve been amazing all through my career and they’ve supported me from day one.
“I can’t thank them enough.”
As South Sydney captain, Reynolds also had to speak at the post-match presentation and delivered a classy speech and another touching tribute to Rabbitohs supporters.
“Congratulations to Ivan (Cleary) and Penrith,” he said.
“You were probably the best team of the last two years and well deserved tonight.
“To Wayne and the coaching staff and the players, keep your heads high guys.
“Sorry we couldn’t get the job done tonight. We gave everything. I love each of you.
“Finally to all our fans and our members, I love you from the bottom of my heart. It’s been quite a journey.
“Sorry we couldn’t make the result tonight. No doubt the boys will fight harder than ever next year.”
Rabbitohs fans praised Reynolds’ behavior and said it wouldn’t be the same to see him play for another club.
“Adam Reynolds’ absolute class all season, not a trace of turmoil after the decision to let him go, then that interview,” Fox Sports broadcaster Adam Peacock tweeted.
“Special mention to Adam Reynolds,” said former Parramatta Eels clean Tim Mannah.
“Feels so wrong that he won’t be in the red & green anymore. He’s that club.”
AAP sports reporter Scott Bailey added, “I have to empathize with Adam Reynolds.”
“I could cry when I saw Adam Reynolds,” said SMH sports journalist Christian Nicolussi.
“Ah man, heartbreaking for Adam Reynolds,” said journalist Lisa Visentin.
“Why are we letting him go.”
Wayne Bennett defended Reynolds after the game after missing the crucial kick.
“Nine out of ten he will get that conversion,” he said.
“These guys make mistakes, they miss tackles, they drop balls and they don’t always get the goal kick.
“Stop trying to put more on it, except he just missed the goal kick and didn’t hit the ball well on the drop kick.
“I can’t be critical of them – you go through life and you have regrets and disappointments, and this was a disappointment tonight.
“It’s not a regret, I haven’t regretted anything.”