His mother in custody on drugs charges, Nicho Hynes says he's enduring the "toughest time of my life" as the 2022 Dally M Medallist fights to play in Cronulla's NRL season opener. Hynes is racing the clock to be fit to face South Sydney at PointsBet Stadium on Saturday night after straining a calf muscle in training last week, and looms as a 50-50 prospect.
But the superstar halfback's physical pain pales into comparison with the mental toll of his mother being in prison, with Hynes on Monday indicating she'd been unjustly dealt with. Julie Hynes, 50, is awaiting her fate after being found guilty this month in a Central Coast Court of one count of knowingly supplying heroin.
"Everyone's going to have opinions on this story and they're going to react the way they want to react but I'm going to stand by mum every step of the way in this and be there for her," Hynes told reporters at Shark Park.
"I'll visit her and what happened I don't think was the right outcome. You can't really judge on that but there's no way in the world that I'm going to leave her high and dry now. She needs the support and I need my support.
"Come sentencing day, I'll probably say a little bit more and hopefully we'll get a better outcome then. But, at the end of the day, it is what it is and I've got a job to do here for the Sharks and I've a job to do as a role model to inspire the next generation of people and that's what I'm here to do."
Fronting a large media scrum, Hynes said "it's no secret it's been a challenging time. It's probably been the toughest time in my life".
"Especially with just the way it's been spoken about it in the media and seeing my mum getting dragged through the media and the way people react to it," he said. "Yeah, it's hard. It's hard. I'm dealing with it the best I can and putting things in place so I can deal with it. I spoke to her and she's alright and she's doing the best she can too."
The popular playmaker said he'd received immense support from not only Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon and teammates, but also the general public. Fitzgibbon wanted to pull Hynes out of this month's All Stars clash with Moari All Stars in Rotorua but the 26-year-old instead collected the Preston Campbell Medal as man of the match in his side's 28-24 win.
"I wanted to go to the All Stars and go and play to the best of my ability. The whole reason of the All Stars is to inspire the next generation of Indigenous kids, Maori kids and even Australian kids," Hynes said.
"They see the way we play and how we react to certain things and there's a lot of young Indigenous kids probably walking the same line that I'm walking through. They might have parents in prison, they might not have parents at all and might struggle.
"So hopefully I could inspire at least one kid by going and playing my best and winning that game of footy. I was just lucky enough to get that medal and that was for all the little kids out there who are struggling like I have and I am now."
Nicho Hynes praises NRL mate amid difficult battle
Hynes' emotional outpouring came a day after injured South Sydney forward Liam Knight revealed he still attends Alcoholics Anonymous sessions twice a week after opening up on the toll binge drinking and prescription drugs took on his life. Hynes said he'd been in contact with his "good mate" Knight to applaud his bravery in speaking up about his "dark thoughts".
"We're branded as professional athletes but we're human too," Hynes said. "We have a life outside rugby league and day-to-day things affect us just as much as they affect normal people.
"Just because we put on a footy jersey every week and entertain the crowd and the fans, that doesn't mean we don't have things going on behind closed doors. We just put on a front for 80 minutes."
#EXCLUSIVE: NRL star Nicho Hynes was in court today, supporting his mother who is on trial for heroin supply.#9News can now show the dramatic moment officers entered the home of Julie Hynes and the lead-up to her arrest. @MaggieRaworth #9News pic.twitter.com/xXIGIrFWFh
— 9News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) February 1, 2023
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