South Sydney halfback Adam Reynolds says he can’t afford to focus on a personal duel with Sydney Roosters rival Mitchell Pearce for fear of taking his eye off the bigger picture.
Pearce will go head-to-head with the man most believe will take over his sky blue NSW State of Origin No.7 jumper next year, with Friday night’s NRL minor premiership playoff at ANZ Stadium a perfect stage for the Souths youngster to push his case.
But Reynolds said team goals were his only focus, with the Rabbitohs attempting to collect their first meaningful piece of silverware in over 40 years.
“I’m not too worried about the match-up between me and him,” Reynolds said on Tuesday.
“If I focus too hard on that I’m sure I won’t have a good game or do my part for the team.
“He’s a great player and a great competitor, you can’t fault anything he’s done this year.
“He’s been one of the best halves this year … it’s a good rivalry, a good challenge coming up against good halves in the comp.
“It’s a good challenge to see where I’m at.”
With Reynolds and teammate John Sutton going up against Pearce and James Maloney, there is the very real possibility that Friday night’s clash of halves pairings could be a case of NSW Origin present against NSW Origin future.
Sutton was part of the extended Blues squad for the opening two games of this year’s series while Maloney played all three games at five eighth, but Reynolds denied the playmakers would decide the winner at ANZ Stadium.
“These games are usually won through the middle or built on field position,” Reynolds said.
“It’s exciting playing against one of the best teams in the comp – they’ve been the form team of the comp the whole way through.’