The move has left many Canterbury Bulldogs fans bitterly disappointed but with rugby league now a business in the modern era, Josh Reynolds has made the decision that is best for him.
The enigmatic, live-wire utility, who has been a staple of the Bulldogs side for years now, will join the Wests Tigers on a 4-year deal until the end of 2021.
The Bulldogs know how good of a player he is but with the cap limitations that clubs now face, there was little they could do when he received a larger offer from the Tigers.
“It is extremely sad that Josh is leaving the club,” said Bulldogs CEO, Raelene Castle.
“He embodies what it means to be a Bulldog and has always worn his heart on his sleeve and played with the utmost courage and passion. We have tremendous admiration for what he has done both on the field and in the community.
The decision to let him go was made even harder on the basis that Reynolds is a local junior, having come through the club ranks.
“Josh is a loyal person and a local junior so this was not a decision that was taken lightly,” Castle continued.
“The harsh realities of the commercial marketplace and a salary cap system mean that this is a fantastic offer for Josh and leaves him in a position where he can secure his future and the Club is completely supportive of his decision.”
Whilst still at the Bulldogs for the remainder of the season, coach Des Hasler knows the club will miss his enthusiasm and tenaciousness.
“Josh is an outstanding footballer and a quality human being. He is incredibly well respected by our playing group and someone who has made an enormous contribution to the Bulldogs on and off the field,” said Hasler.
“I know that Josh is dedicated to this team and will finish the season strongly.”
As all players do, Reynolds praised the club for developing him, nurturing him and for providing him with lifelong mates in the footy world. For, in the end, the decision he made was the one that was best for him.
“I have had a fantastic time with the Bulldogs and loved every minute of it,” Reynolds said.
“The mates I have made from here will be mates forever and this is all that really matters to me.
“The decision was the toughest I have ever had to make in my whole life but I wish the Bulldogs the best in the future. It is important for the club and myself that we focus everything on the team playing good football and finishing the season strongly.
Reynolds will always cherish his time at the club and the people that he has met and worked with along the way.
“To everyone who has supported me through my career at the Bulldogs, I am highly appreciative and it will never be forgotten,” he added.
Starting somewhat of a rebuild at the Tigers, new head coach Ivan Cleary is making some astute additions to the squad, with Reynolds now joining fellow new recruits Chris McQueen and Ben Matulino.
The Tigers, perhaps having lacked enthusiasm in the eyes of some, know that Reynolds is a guy that can provide that for them.
“Josh has proven himself time and time again to be an incredibly competitive and passionate player and we look forward to him bringing that attitude to the club,” said Cleary. “He’s going to bring to Wests Tigers a wealth of experience having been a part finals, Grand Finals and State of Origin series.
“He’s going to bring to Wests Tigers a wealth of experience having been a part finals, Grand Finals and State of Origin series.”
With a chance to make his own mark at the club, Cleary is confident the new recruit will succeed at the Tigers.
“We’re confident that the best is yet to come for Josh and look forward to him taking his game to the next level here,” he said.
“I’m sure he’s going to make a significant contribution to Wests Tigers reaching its potential.”