The 31-year-old question that haunts Broncos
The timing is right for Adam Reynolds to thrive when he lands at the Brisbane Broncos at age 31.
Reynolds' decision to join the Broncos for the next three seasons has produced plenty of discussion this week and there is no reason that he can't remain one of the game's best players for years to come.
Reynolds is an endangered species - a genuine playmaker in a game that doesn't have as many as it did in years gone by.
I grew up loving the way that Allan Langer played off-the-cuff football as spaces opened and big men got tired. Wally Lewis and Peter Sterling did the same before Alfie arrived.
Reynolds says Andrew Johns was one of his favourite players. He's a good footy role model to follow because he took the path that faces Reynolds in the coming years.
As Joey aged, he became smarter on the football field. Brad Fittler did the same.
I was a few years younger than Joey and Freddy but I always felt that they were one step ahead of me on the field.
As playmakers age, they don't become better athletes but they become better game managers. It comes from experience, from the ability to keep a cool head and the way that they can get the best out of their teammates.
I remember Joey in the second State of Origin match in Sydney in 2005. He had been at the lowest ebb of his career - a knee reconstruction in 2004 affected him to the point that he was overlooked for the 2005 Anzac Test.
Soon after, he broke his jaw so there was a real prospect that Joey's career was in serious trouble at age 31. But his performance in that Sydney Origin match was something else.
We led the Blues at halftime but then Joey turned the match.
I can still remember the booming 40-20 kick that changed the game. Soon after, he set up three tries in 15 minutes.
He came up to Brisbane a few weeks later and delivered the Blues a rare series win at Suncorp Stadium.
He wasn't faster, he wasn't stronger but he was still one of the smartest players that the game had known. If not for injury, Joey could have played at an elite level well into his 30s.
Reynolds has the same opportunity, only the game is different now.
The Melbourne Storm have been the most influential in the change, showing the power of a structured game built around the ability to control the speed of the play-the-ball.
That trend towards structured football has impacted on the development of the game's playmakers. Coaches developed game plans around that structured play and that took the instinctive nature out of our playmakers.
We simply don't have as many as in previous decades but the recent rule changes will help to bring back that off-the-cuff style. Those changes do affect players' fatigue levels, opening spaces to make the game more exciting.
While we wait for those new playmakers to emerge, the Broncos will have one soon in Reynolds.
He turns 31 in July but that should be no cause for concern for Broncos fans.
Reynolds still has much to offer. He's a calm player who can take control of games and deliver wins in matches that may otherwise have been lost.
He's a good signing.
Originally published as Adam Reynolds and the 31-year-old question that haunts Broncos