Reynolds stands by Bulldogs' 'touch footy' strategy

It's a common strategy utilised in touch football but Bulldogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds is happy to see teammates kill off the set on the last tackle deep in the opposition's end if it means they won't have to face a set of seven in defence thereafter. 

Reynolds said his Bulldogs side are unwilling (at times) to run the risk of extra defence by kicking on the last tackle in good field territory. 

The Bulldogs' chief playmaker said it was a game management ploy from his side to – rather than try and score off every play – grind out their point-scoring opportunities.

There were several instances particularly in the first half in the Bulldogs' game against the Sharks last Monday night where they took up this option and were duly rewarded with an 18-10 half-time lead. 

"If we think we can earn repeat sets then we'll have a crack where necessary, but if not there's chances where we can pin them in a corner with the ball and make them kick from their 30 or 40 on the next set," a frank Reynolds told NRL.com.

"It's those instances then where 'Hoppa' (fullback Will Hopoate) can catch it on the full and bring it back into good territory. It's a chess game, you know? 

"It's not about getting down the other team's end and pulling the trigger straight away, it's realising if we hang in the grind then eventually they're going to break."

Reynolds went on to deny the play was a way to hide the so-called kicking deficiencies of both himself and halfback Moses Mbye.  

"That's the thing at the moment, it's all the rage how apparently Moses and I have a terrible kicking games. People don't realise how big of an impact seven tackles is to a side," Reynolds said.

"If we feel a kick is on then we'll kick it, but if we feel we can pin them in a corner and not let them out – and as most coaches and people who really know their footy will tell you – sometimes it's the better option. 

"Don't get me wrong, we're still working on our kicking as we always do. But it comes down to what's best for the team at that time really."

Good field territory was hard to come by for the Bulldogs in the second half against the Sharks – where they were pipped at the post by two points – but Reynolds wasn't prepared to be negative over the defeat ahead of their huge clash against the Dragons.

"It's a tough one to cop, mate. Being so close and losing in the last minute like that was hard. We can definitely take plenty of positives out our performance though," Reynolds said.

"We know they're the benchmark of the competition at the moment and we stuck with them for the most part. We know we're in a good place off the back of it and we won't be going negative over what we're doing. Even though we did lose, we are building."

A Ricky Leutele try and James Maloney sideline conversion in the final 100 seconds helped the Sharks post an eventual 20-18 win but it wasn't a matter of the Bulldogs "knocking off" early, according to Reynolds.

"It was just little things throughout the game that add up at the end. Sometimes not taking control of certain situations at different times through the game contributes," he said.

"We're all still learning and that's the best thing about this team. Even though we only were beaten by two points, it's not good enough so we want to build on from that."

This article first appeared on NRL.com