Nicho Hynes makes big State of Origin statement as Cowboys ripped over woeful NRL scenes

The Sharks playmaker was immense against the Cowboys and is making a push for an Origin recall.

Nicho Hynes has once again shown his mettle and thrown weight behind his bid for the Blues No.6 jersey after a strong performance against the Cowboys. The Sharks were utterly dominant against a hapless Cowboys outfit having scored seven NRL tries to one in the 42-6 demolition.

Hynes helped guide the Sharks around the ground with aplomb and his running game was strong, which has only added weight to the push for the playmaker to partner Nathan Cleary at Origin level. Last year, then Blues coach Brad Fittler selected Hynes as the No.14 role.

Nicho Hynes (pictured) has once again got fans talking whether he should be selected as the Blues No.6 after a strong performance against the Cowboys. (Images: Getty Images/Fox Sports)
Nicho Hynes (pictured) has once again got fans talking whether he should be selected as the Blues No.6 after a strong performance against the Cowboys. (Images: Getty Images/Fox Sports)

Hynes was thrown in at centre in game I and after a tough spell he found himself at the centre of criticism for his performance. Fittler then opted to drop Hynes altogether, despite Cleary getting injured and not playing game II and III.

The playmaker's form dipped, but Hynes bounced back and was called up for the Kangaroos tour at the end of the season in 2023. He has also started strongly in 2024 with the Sharks sitting at the top of the table.

And against the Cowboys, Hynes was immense having kicked seven goals, provided two try assists, made three tackle breaks and ran for 130 metres. And he was once again put in 31 tackles. One moment of magic saw Hynes throw a perfectly-timed cut-out pass to help send Ronaldo Mulitalo over for his first try of the evening.

While Cleary is a lock for the No.7 jersey having led the Panthers to three-straight titles, the big question is who will partner the halfback. And Hynes appears to be leading to the charge and is doing everything possible to make sure new coach Michael Maguire selects him for Game I.

Incumbent Cody Walker is not having the best season with the Rabbitohs and he appears unlikely to get the No.6 jersey, while previous five-eighth Jarome Luai still remains in the hunt to partner club teammate Cleary. Although Hynes is certainly doing everything he possibly can to fight for the jersey with many Blues fans calling for a shake-up to the team that has not won the series since 2021.

Nicho Hynes runs the ball.
Nicho Hynes (pictured) is doing everything possible for an Origin recall after a masterclass against the Cowboys.

Craig Fitzgibbon praises Sharks after brilliant performance

The Sharks sit at the top of the table after round seven in the NRL with arguably one of the easier draws so far. Regardless, the Sharks have taken their opportunities with some great attacking footy. They also face the Raiders next week away, a match they won earlier in the season.

And coach Craig Fitzgibbon was impressed with his team's performance and hailed it the best of the season so far. "I'd suggest so far, yeah, against a quality opponent like they are," he said. Hynes' kicking game was impressive and his first kick of the day forced the Cowboys to be pinned back in their half.


And Cowboys coach Todd Payten was frustrated with how easily his team rolled over. The Cowboys looked promising after round three this year, but brutal losses to the Eels and now the Sharks has Payten in disbelief. "At 24-0, we've got a slim chance and then when the game gets to 30-0 in that second half, guys are starting to look at each other and play as individuals," Payten added. "The score blew out because of it."

Payten then elaborated on the Cowboys' defence in recent weeks, which has seen them concede more than 20 points for three weeks in a row. “Yep, absolutely. It has been and we have spoken about it... we have beaten some teams in the first months of the competition doing that,” Payten said.

“You can’t do that against the top four or six or eight teams, that’s not going to win you enough matches or any matches against the bigger teams.” Payten then admitted he would most likely be making changes to his team. “I’ll be looking at it yeah, absolutely," he added.

Captain Tom Dearden was also asked about his opinion of the team after hearing some of his teammates could be facing the axe. “That’s up to Todd, I’m just playing as a part of the team and trying to do my job as best as I can each week,” Dearden said.

“Todd will make every decision about what he thinks is best for the team and our performances. I think it’s up to us players to really pull our fingers out. It wasn’t good enough tonight.”