Sports columnist Vince Habermann talks to Bundaberg rugby league rising star Wyatt Reynolds about his journey to the Bulldogs.
Outstanding young Bundaberg rugby league product Wyatt Reynolds was set for a career-defining season this year with Canterbury in the New South Wales Cup competition after being signed by the Bulldogs following his heroics for Sunshine Coast Falcons in their historic QRL Hastings Deering Colts competition in 2019.
Wyatt, who turned 21 on January 4, completed year 12 at Bundaberg State High School in 2016 and after a break-out season at representative and club levels including establishing himself in Brothers’ A Grade side while still playing under-18, he was signed by Melbourne Storm, playing with their feeder-club Sunshine Coast for the next three seasons.
A try scoring prop with great leg speed, he played every game for the premiership winning Falcons last year and took out the Best Forward in their club awards.
He was also named in the QRL Colts Team of the Season and Canterbury legend Steve Price again came calling after he had hotly pursued the wrecking-ball three years earlier.
This time Wyatt could not knock him back and he signed with the long running Belmore club and he was one of 11 rookies who joined the Dogs’ NRL cohort over the summer as part of an extended training squad.
Now tipping the scales at 100kg, he then played two trial games for the Canterbury NSW Cup side but suffered a broken hand after 17 minutes in their round one clash with the Eels, which they went on to lose 24-16.
Then, Covid-19 rocked the world and the NSW Cup was canned for this year and Wyatt said the club told him it was best to return home and play what he could in 2020.
He signed with Beerwah Bulldogs in April to play in the Sunshine Coast league this year but still does not know when that competition will fire up and he continues to follow a Canterbury private training program.
“They haven’t set a date for commencement yet but the Sunshine Coast Rugby League are quite confident the competition will come back and I believe it could start in August, just playing everyone once,” Wyatt said.
Wyatt said it was surreal to train along-side the likes of Canterbury stars such as Josh Jackson, Kieran Foran and Dylan Napa, and while the prospect of playing “park footy” for Beerwah is a “step down”, his burning goal is still to play in the NRL.
“It was also amazing with Steve Price and Terry Lamb still getting around the club – they love their club and love their history and with the players, they are all just top blokes and it is phenomenal how hard they train – it is just a massive step up from the Queensland Colts division,” he said.
“Coronavirus is certainly a bit of a jink in the road, but fingers crossed, I will go back to play in the NSW Cup next season and one day in the NRL, hopefully sooner rather than later.
“There is not too much talk about next year yet, but fingers crossed the Bulldogs still want me or I could find a different Sydney club.”
Despite their 0-3 start to the season and 32-6 drubbing by Sea Eagles when the NRL resumed last weekend, Wyatt believes the Dogs can bark against the Dragons this Sunday, especially with the return of Foran from injury.
“They just don’t have the right people in the right roles at the moment with injuries and that but at full strength, I think they can match it with the best sides,” he said.
Wyatt said he was fortunate that Canterbury are still paying him under the Job Keeper scheme and that at the moment, he is doing what coaching he can “around the schools and clubs”.
“A friend has home gym and the Bulldogs got me a program fitness-wise, but it will be awesome when we can back to training and playing together,” he said.
Wyatt said he “loves getting back to Bundy when (he) can”.
“My Mum and all my brothers live in Caboolture, but my partner’s family live in Bundy and I’ve still got friends there and I will always call it home,” he said.
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