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Mental strength behind Reynolds' form spike

Words: Chris Kennedy, National Correspondent‌‌, ‌‌‌NRL.com

Bulldogs playmaker Josh Reynolds says a deeper understanding of the importance of the mental side of the game – and a focus on doing the little things right – is behind his improved form of late.

Reynolds was best on ground in an impressive 24-9 Good Friday win against South Sydney and while he is benefiting from a great platform laid by his in-form pack and a blossoming halves combination with close mate Matt Frawley, it's a focus on personal goals that has lifted him from patchy and emotion-charged to consistent match-winner in recent weeks.

"I think I'm getting better at [controlling my emotions] and that's not giving myself a rap – I think I had to improve that to become a better player and a better person," Reynolds said.

"I've had a look at myself over the last five rounds and I feel that when I do play well it's when I go back to how I've got myself here and that's basing my game on simple aspects and trying to do all the little things and when I do all the little things I feel everything else falls into place. 

"It's funny, I'm learning every game and every week how much of the game we play is mental. It's crazy. You can have a week of not really digging in or dwelling into what you're about and all the little things and honestly for me it shows in my game, you're not there.

"But when you fully drill into all the little things that you do through the week it helps and I'm definitely still learning even though I've played a couple of seasons now. Hopefully I can just keep implementing them week in week out and coming up with some good games."

Reynolds described the game against Souths as his team's most complete performance of the season so far.

"It's still far from where we can be but completing 95 per cent in the second half is what we need to do. If we hold the ball when we get down there we can score some points."

Reynolds was praised by coach Des Hasler for his never-say-die attitude in pulling off a try-saving, match-swinging tackle on Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds in the 54th minute but Reynolds credited fullback Brett Morris for leading the chase.

"It was more B-Moz, he's got me covered easy!" Reynolds laughed.

"But they're the things I try to make sure I have in my game – just chasing back and making sure I'm doing my bit for the team but as you can see it wasn't one or two of us – Josh Morris was just behind us. They're the things we pride ourselves on, they're better than tries I feel."

Reynolds was again asked to field questions on his contract status after publicly declaring any number of times that he can't see himself leaving Belmore.

"I haven't come out in any of the papers and said 'I want this, I want that' – it's all behind closed doors to be honest," Reynolds said.

"I think I got a chant from a couple of the boys [in the sheds after the game] saying 'sign him up'. I'm happy with that!

"There's not much I can say to be honest, I think I've said numerous times what I want to do, it's pretty easy for the people to get it so hopefully it can be done soon."

This article first appeared on NRL.com