After being dropped from Laurie Daley's NSW team to face Queensland next week, Bulldogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds will be looking to bounce back with plenty of energy, according to City Origin halves partner and direct opponent this weekend, Blake Austin.
Depending on who you talk to, both Austin and Reynolds should feel hard done by after missing out on selection for the Blues, though it now allows them to concentrate on club football when the two face off against one another on Sunday afternoon.
"Josh is a player who brings a lot of energy to the team and it's definitely how I try and play my footy too so I learned a lot working with him throughout the week leading into City v Country and it'll be good to come up against him," Austin said.
"[Josh will] probably respond [to his omission] much like all the good players would, he'll come out and he'll put in a good performance. I'm probably going to have to match his energy and try and be the spark for our team as he'll be doing for his."
With the Raiders completely unaffected by State of Origin representation after back-rower Josh Papalii was controversially overlooked by the Maroons after being named the Kangaroos' 18th man just a few short weeks ago, Austin said they'll be looking to bounce back from their first loss in a month against the Bulldogs.
With the Dragons beating the Green Machine rather comprehensively by game's end last week, Austin shunned any criticism of Mitch Cornish – who played in place of the sidelined Sam Williams – by labelling the team's defence as their biggest downfall.
Ready to aim up against a big Bulldogs pack, minus Josh Jackson and David Klemmer as well as centre Josh Morris and halfback Trent Hodkinson, Austin went on to add the Raiders weren't reading into who will be missing from their opposition.
"[Against the Dragons] we were pretty happy with what we did with the ball. We probably had too many one-on-one misses and that was a result of the weight of possession," Austin said.
"We didn't aim up enough earlier on to deter them there and so we'll have to be better with our defence to get them looking at other areas I guess."
"St George Illawarra to their credit played really well and they stuck to the game plan which nullified plenty of our goals so Mitch and I have to keep improving on leading the team around."
Against the Bulldogs this weekend, the Raiders and their major sponsor Huawei are looking to raise money and awareness for cancer research by wearing a special jersey which will showcase a 'Riding to Cure Cancer' message and will be later auctioned off, all in the name of cancer research. Huawei have also committed a minimum $10,000 donation to Bowel Cancer Australia.
"It's a great initiative by the club, we saw what a great job the Footy Show did last weekend with the bowel cancer story and obviously it doesn't get too much publicity otherwise," Austin said.
"If we can play our part and spread the message then I think it's great."
This article first appeared on NRL.com