It’s nothing new’: Souths halves’ admission over Reynolds criticism amid disaster 2023 campaign

‘It’s nothing new’: Souths halves’ admission over Reynolds criticism amid disaster 2023 campaign

Rabbitohs halfback Lachlan Ilias has opened up on the consistent criticism of his performances as the young gun attempts to fill the shoes of Adam Reynolds.

The 23-year-old kicked off his pre-season training on Wednesday morning, hoping to bounce back after a disappointing 2023 campaign that saw South Sydney finish outside of the top eight.

Ilias copped a mountain of criticism last season with many blaming him for the Rabbitohs’ poor season, while the man he replaced led the Broncos to the grand final.

Now he also faces big huge challenge with NSW Cup halfback Dean Hawkins breathing down his neck for the No.7 jersey after leading the South Sydney reserves to glory.

“I don’t mind the pressure, I’ve dealt with it my whole career now, it’s nothing new and nothing changes,” Ilias said to the SMH.

“Those ‘Reyno’ [comparisons] don’t motivate me. I’ve got my own things that motivate me. I’m not fussed about it.

“I’ll always support our ‘little mate’. He’ll forever be a Rabbitoh. He took control of that Broncos team. Obviously, he was disappointed with the grand final loss, and I flicked him a message after that game.

“The biggest thing I learned last season was to be confident with whatever you do.”

Meanwhile, head coach Jason Demetriou also played down any comparisons with Reynolds, who Rabbitohs powerbrokers let go after failing to offer him a long term deal.

Demetriou also endured a turbulent end to the 2023 season, with both assistants, John Morris and Sam Burgess, departing the club.

Their decision to leave came after rumours of infighting within the club regarding the preferential treatment of star players Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker.

“People questioning Lachie can question him all they want – I don’t really care what they say, or who says it,” Demetriou said.

“If you’re a supporter of the club, you’ve got a choice to get on [board] and support the club or not.

“He’s a guy who just came into his second year, and he was a guy who led the team to the top of the table after 11 rounds. What happened at the back end of the year, that’s not on a 40-game or 50-game halfback to fix.

“We don’t need a halfback. I’ve got two very good ones here. They’ll challenge each other, and that will bring the best out of both of them.”

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