Prior to the competition’s suspension earlier this year, Canterbury were keen to see how the team performed across the opening two months before weighing up whether to extend Pay’s tenure into a fourth and fifth season.
By the the time the Dogs have played the Tigers, Bennett’s South Sydney, the Broncos and St George Illawarra, Pay will have had a similar amount of time to prove he deserves a new deal.
The last thing Canterbury want is to re-sign Pay early and have the poor results continue. The Dogs also know a coach can arrive as late as the post season and still have enough time to get a team up and running.
The Bulldogs, however, do not have that luxury of waiting that long. They have $3m to spend on new talent, but players will want to know who they’ll be playing for before committing to the club.
Meanwhile, Reynolds, whose third and final request to leave the Tigers and return home to Canterbury fell over before the competition resumed, is expected to have a huge impact on Sunday evening.
Tigers teammate Harry Grant remembers watching Reynolds and quickly got a sense of how much he meant to the Bulldogs faithful, but was certainly glad he was wearing the black, white and orange.
“He’ll be very energetic as he always is when he comes out on Sunday,” Grant said.
“With the new rule changes he’s a runner of the footy, he likes to get his hands on the footy, and once we get a bit of a dent in the opposition [defence], he’s keen to take them on. He loves talking and is always talking out on the field.”
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.