While Canterbury coach Dean Pay left the door ajar for Reynolds late last week, the Herald has been told by sources close to both western Sydney clubs the move simply will not happen unless the playmaker is prepared to accept minimum wage.
Reynolds will earn north of $750,000 the next two seasons, and while Canterbury acknowledge they need experience in their pack, Reynolds’ price tag is just too high and he would only be seen as a short-term fix.
With no reserve grade in which to impress coach Michael Maguire, the only way for Reynolds to push his case for a recall is to blitz it on the training paddock.
Technically Reynolds cannot be approached by a rival club with more than 12 months remaining on his deal, but the Tigers were happy to listen to any proposals put forward by the Dogs. There has been no contact in a fortnight, and that is not expected to change.
The Tigers are mindful of not letting the negotiations become a distraction for Reynolds, especially after it became an emotional burden last year when talk of a Belmore return again surfaced.
Canterbury have 27 players on their roster and are awaiting confirmation from the NRL if they have to sign replacements for sacked duo Corey Harawira-Naera and Jayden Okunbor.
Co-captain Moses Mbye, who played with Reynolds at the Bulldogs, said of his friend: “I personally haven’t spoken to him about it, I think he’s had a tough couple of years and he hasn’t had much reward for the hard work he’s put in, so whatever happens with ‘Grub’, be it here or elsewhere, it would be good to see him playing first-grade footy and back where he belongs. Whatever is best for him I’m certainly supportive.”
Mbye said Grant was unproven in the NRL and there had been plenty of handy NSW and Queensland Cup players ”who haven’t cut the mustard at NRL level”.
“But we have really big expectations of Harry, and what he has shown in his first week of training has been exceptional,” Mbye said of his fellow Queenslander.
“It’s a good headache to have for the head coach. We’ve got depth, which is something we haven’t had the past couple of seasons.”
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.