Michael Maguire's revelation about Nicho Hynes injury in major State of Origin development

A calf complaint left Hynes under a massive cloud before the NSW side was announced.

NSW coach Michael Maguire has allayed fears over Nicho Hynes' troublesome calf after declaring his Blues No.7 will "hit the ground running on day one" of Origin training. Hynes was selected at halfback and will partner Jarome Luai in the halves for the Blues, despite his inclusion in the 20-man squad being thrown into doubt during Saturday night's crushing 42-0 defeat by the Panthers in the NRL.

Hynes was forced off before halftime to undergo an HIA, but never came back on in the second half after experiencing tightness in his calf. The Sharks superstar has been battling the calf complaint for a number of weeks and sat out the round 10 win over the Storm, before returning for Cronulla's round 11 victory over the Roosters. But the calf again caused him problems on Saturday night, forcing Hynes to go for scans after the demoralising loss to Penrith.

Pictured left to right, NSW coach Michael Maguire and Blues Origin halfback Nicho Hynes.
NSW coach Michael Maguire is confident Nicho Hynes will be able to train unaffected during Blues Origin camp despite his calf complaint. Pic: Getty

Maguire would have been a nervous observer watching from the stands but after confirming his Blues squad on Monday for Game I in Sydney on June 5, the NSW coach revealed he'd been kept fully abreast of the Hynes situation by the Sharks and their medical staff. And Maguire is confident the calf complaint is not too serious and that Hynes will be ready to go when training kicks off in Blues camp this week.

“I reckon he’ll hit the ground running on day one. That’s what we’re working towards,” Maguire said ahead of Wednesday's first Blues session. “We’re really confident with where he’s at that he’ll be able to train from day one. I’ve got some really good staff with me, and they’re in continual communication with the Sharkies staff as well.

“He had a scan yesterday and it looked really good. There’s no further damage and I think it actually looked better. He’s got through that now, and I’ll obviously talk to my staff over the next couple of days and work out how we go about his training.

“The conversation I had with him yesterday, he was really excited that he was in the team so that was a pretty special phone call. He’s ready to go. I’ve spoken to a lot of players over the past couple of months and you’re faced with many different scenarios of what the team may or may not be. I’m really super confident with how Nicho’s been.

“Just listening to the conversations of what he’s had to face over his career and what he’s learnt, I’m really looking forward to how he comes into camp because he’s a leader.” Hynes has spoken openly and honestly about the heartbreak of being dropped after playing just 12 minutes in his Origin debut in Game I last year. The Sharks star admits it took time to get over but vowed to use it as motivation to improve and grow as a player.

Seen here, Nicho Hynes in State of Origin Game I in 2023.
Nicho Hynes hasn't played for the Blues since an underwhelming 12-minute cameo in his Origin debut in Game I of 2023. Pic: Getty

Injuries to Nathan Cleary and Mitch Moses mean the playmaking responsibility for the Blues will fall largely on Hynes, although his halves partner Luai showed his prowess at No.7 in a masterclass for Penrith against Cronulla on Saturday night. Injuries have been a common theme for both sides leading into this year's Origin series and Maguire said he just had to accept the situation and pick the best available side.

“I’ve just learnt to take it how it comes in this role,” the Blues coach said. “Plenty of people have told me that you decide your team at 5pm yesterday, and that’s exactly what I did. Because I’d spoken to so many players in the wider squad, we actually sat in this room and spoke about what happens in the Origin arena could be anyone at any time.


“We’ve seen that over the years on many occasions when somebody has come in and performed and become one of the all-time great players in the Blues jersey.” If Hynes' calf issue does not progress as expected, it's understood Luke Keary will take his place in the halves for NSW. Bulldogs No.6 Matt Burton is another option after being named in the extended 20-man squad.

Maguire's Blues will have a distinctly different look in Game I, with James Tedesco dropped in favour of Panthers superstar Dylan Edwards and Manly's Jake Trbojevic taking over the captain's armband. Edwards is one of six debutants named in the Blues' starting 17, with Joseph Suaalii, Zac Lomax, Cameron McInnes, Haumole Olakau’atu and Spencer Leniu also set to wear the sky blue jersey for the first time.

  1. Dylan Edwards

  2. Brian To'o

  3. Stephen Crichton

  4. Joseph Suaalii

  5. Zac Lomax

  6. Jarome Luai

  7. Nicho Hynes

  8. Jake Trbojevic (c)

  9. Reece Robson

  10. Payne Haas

  11. Liam Martin

  12. Angus Crichton

  13. Cameron McInnes

  14. Isaah Yeo

  15. Haumole Olakau'atu

  16. Spencer Leniu

  17. Hudson Young

Reserves: 18. Matt Burton 19. Luke Keary 20. Mitchell Barnett

with AAP