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Rookie Rabbit Reynolds destined for a leadership role

Taking on more responsibility ... Adam Reynolds.

Taking on more responsibility ... Adam Reynolds. Photo: Quentin Jones

 SOUTH SYDNEY coach Michael Maguire has implored halfback Adam Reynolds to take on more of a leadership role with the Rabbitohs this season.

After winning last year's NRL rookie award, Reynolds is already being tipped as a leading contender for the NSW Origin side, and he wore the No.7 jersey for the NRL All Stars on February 9.

The 23-year-old Souths junior said Maguire wanted him to assume greater responsibility for leading the Rabbitohs on the field.

''We all have got our roles in the team but, as leaders, 'Madge' is looking for me and guys like Nathan Peats to stand up more,'' said Reynolds, who played in Saturday night's 18-6 loss to Newcastle at Coffs Harbour. ''Madge has said he wants us to be more leader-type out on the field.''

After their first year under Maguire, Reynolds said the off-season had been almost identical to last year, except tougher.

''We knew what to expect but Madge has pulled out another card, so he is keeping us on our toes and working us really hard,'' Reynolds said. ''We are really working hard at Souths to do better this year.

''The off-season has been practically the same as last year but the intensity is higher, and everyone is competing on every play.''

After finishing their second trial unscathed, Souths should be close to full strength for Friday night's Charity Shield clash against St George Illawarra at ANZ Stadium.

Winger Andrew Everingham did not play against the Knights after suffering a slight hamstring twinge before the match.

Newcastle forwards Jeremy Smith and Willie Mason were placed on report for a lifting tackle on Dave Tyrell, and will learn on Monday whether they have been charged by the NRL match review committee.

Meanwhile, two of the New Zealand Warriors' biggest stars have been linked to moves offshore.

Manu Vatuvei and Feleti Mateo are in the last year of their contracts. Vatuvei has been connected with moves to Japan, England and France to play rugby, while there is speculation Mateo is looking to head back over the other side of the Tasman, possibly to reunite with St George Illawarra. Penrith are also believed to be interested in him.

Both played well in the 32-18 loss to Penrith Panthers in Hamilton on Saturday, and they will no doubt have offers galore from both codes as the year progresses. Neither is a player the Warriors want to let go.

Chief executive Wayne Scurrah said negotiations with Mateo's representatives began late last year, and that re-signing Vatuvei was a priority. ''They are key players for us,'' Scurrah said. ''We had some discussions with Feleti's agent pre-Christmas, and we'll keep talking to him. We are also fully conscious that Manu is off contract as well, and he's been an integral player at the club for nearly 10 years now.''

Other Warriors in the last year of their contracts include Elijah Taylor, Russell Packer, Steve Rapira, Jerome Ropati, Kevin Locke, Nathan Friend and Carlos Tuimavave.

Some the Warriors will clearly want to re-sign; for others it will be a case of seeing how they perform this season before decisions are made.

New coach Matthew Elliott inherited a squad almost complete when he arrived, and he might want to put his stamp on the team for next year.

''We have got a few on option or off contracts,'' Scurrah said. ''We have got a brand new coach and quite a different looking roster. I imagine a lot of it will be Matt wanting to see them play. We have got a couple of guys on injured list now so I'd think that would change the dynamics a bit too.''

Although it would take time for Elliott to fully assess the players he has at his disposal, Scurrah didn't feel this would put the club behind others looking to recruit players for 2014.


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