‘Highlight of my career’: Mahoney ready for another crack back at Belmore

There’s a lot more love for Reed Mahoney in his second stint in Belmore than his first.

Before he had even arrived for the current pre-season, Mahoney featured in a mural at Jobel’s, the local cafe that is an institution on Burwood Road. And then after just a few weeks of training with his new teammates, they had seen enough to appoint him as their co-captain.

“It’s definitely a highlight of my career,” Mahoney said.

“I didn’t come to the club for that reason, I didn’t know what was going to happen. Ciro [coach Cameron Ciraldo] touched on it when I first came, he wanted my presence to be felt within the group, for me to just go out and train hard and it would take care of itself.

“We went away a few weeks ago, we had a vote and me and Burto [Matt Burton] were one of the top ones. I’m really honoured to be voted by my peers and I’m super excited about what the year has to come.

“There’s great spirit in the club from the office all the way through to the footy department. As a Bulldogs fan, you should be really excited for what’s to come.”

After just a few weeks of training at Canterbury, he was voted co-captain by his teammates.Credit:NRL Photos

Canterbury didn’t always have such a high opinion of the hooker. The “family club” brought him down from Queensland nine years ago but reportedly baulked at paying the $1500 asking price he sought to stay. Instead, he was let go mid-season.

After establishing himself as one of the game’s best rakes at Parramatta, Mahoney will get another chance to make his mark, albeit at a significantly higher cost to the blue and whites.

“I signed here when I was 15 years old,” said Mahoney, who will run out for the Bulldogs in their trial against Cronulla at Belmore on Sunday. “I came down and lived and played for the Bulldogs in SG Ball in 2016. It feels like I’ve come back to where I started.”

The Herald revealed that Mahoney was in the frame to skipper the Bulldogs the moment Josh Jackson retired prematurely. Now he has the chance to fulfil two goals that have narrowly eluded him; a premiership win and a State of Origin berth.

“As a Bulldogs fan, you should be really excited for what’s to come.”

“That’s a story within my career,” Mahoney said of the pain of Parramatta’s grand final loss to Penrith last year.

“Some might not see it as a highlight, but I do. It’s something I’ve learnt off and been able to deal with. If I get into that position again, I’d do some things differently and some the same. It’s something I want the other boys to feel, to play in that prelim final, knowing you’re going to be in a grand final, it’s unreal.

“Obviously we fell short and it still hurts, but it’s all part of footy and you move on.”

Mahoney has also come agonisingly close to pulling on the Maroons jumper. The 24-year-old aims to again put pressure on Harry Grant and Ben Hunt for the dummy half role for this year’s State of Origin series.

“Of course. It’s something that I write down, that I want to achieve,” he said.

“If I’m getting into the squad, that would be a good start. There are a couple of good ones in front of me but I’m going to train hard and try to put myself into the conversation.”

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