Adam Reynolds of the Rabbitohs scores a try.
Adam Reynolds of the Rabbitohs scores a try. PAUL MILLER

Souths lose Reynolds for start of season

RUGBY LEAGUE: South Sydney has been dealt a massive blow before the start of the NRL season, with halfback Adam Reynolds ruled out for up to four weeks with appendicitis.

Reynolds is almost certain to miss the Rabbitohs' opening games against the Wests Tigers, Manly and Newcastle, and will race the clock to be fit for round four against the Sydney Roosters.

Souths have a number of options to replace the 26-year-old in the halves.

Former Parramatta No.7 Luke Kelly was impressive in the Charity Shield win over St George Illawarra while John Sutton could also revert from the back row to partner Cody Walker.

Less likely is the option to shift Damien Cook from the bench hooker role, which would allow recruit Robbie Farah to play 80 minutes in the No.9 jersey.

Regardless, Reynolds' absence is a cruel hit to Souths as they attempt to climb back into the top eight after last year missing the finals for the first time since 2011.

The NSW State of Origin halfback forms a key part of the side's attacking structure, highlighted by the fact they won just two of eight games without him in 2016.

In total, the Rabbitohs have just a 33% winning record without Reynolds at five wins and 10 losses, while they have won 63% of matches that he has played since his debut in 2012.