Nicho Hynes sends stunning message to Michael Maguire as calls grow for Origin return

The Cronulla Sharks halfback was brutally dumped from the NSW side in 2023.

Nicho Hynes appears to have one foot in the NSW State of Origin team after another masterful display to lead the Sharks over the Roosters on Saturday night. Hynes had two try assists, three line-break assists and a 40/20 as Cronulla proved they're a genuine premiership contender.

The Sharks had been hit by questions about their true credentials after surging to the top of the NRL ladder without facing a particularly good team. But back-to-back wins over the Storm and Roosters have proven the doubters wrong.

And Hynes' performance against fellow heavyweights the Roosters should give NSW coach Michael Maguire plenty of confidence that the halfback can do it in the Origin arena. Reports emerged last week that Mitchell Moses and Jarome Luai were winning the race to claim the 6 and 7 jerseys for the Blues.

Nicho Hynes in action for the Sharks against the Roosters.
Nicho Hynes sent Teig Wilton over for one of his two try assists against the Roosters. Image: Getty/Fox League

But Moses looks likely to miss the opening game due to injury, leaving the door open for Hynes to reclaim his NSW jersey. The halfback was a controversial selection on the bench last year, and failed to fire when he got on the field.

He was then dumped by then-coach Brad Fittler, which took a huge toll on his mental toughness and confidence. But the 27-year-old has returned to his brilliant best and is demanding selection in Maguire's team to face Queensland.

Nicho Hynes.
Nicho Hynes celebrates with teammates after Tom Hazelton's try.

In the opening minute of the game, Hynes triggered the bold last-tackle play that produced the Sharks' first try. His one-two pass with Briton Nikora down the right edge laid the platform for Will Kennedy to score after Dom Young fumbled Jesse Ramien's kick.

Hynes caught James Tedesco napping later in the half with a precise 40/20 kick, then sent Teig Wilton over for a try with a well-placed pass. He also sent Tom Hazelton crashing over for the winning try late in the second half, and has his hands all over everything the Sharks did.

"(Hynes) did really well," Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon said afterwards. "He had a really selfless attitude to play (after his calf injury). It was a slight risk, but the medical guys did a good job with him."


Hynes said he's more than ready to return to the Origin arena. “Yeah for sure, I’ve learnt a hell of a lot and I’ve had to eat s*** and learn from it the last couple of years,” he said after the game.

“It’s put me in a position to perform and be where I am for this club, this team. I wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for this club and my teammates.

“The lessons I’ve learnt. There’s going to be people saying I’m not the man for the job, right now I’ve got to focus on getting this calf as good as it can be for next week. Then if I’m ready the coaching staff will pick me, we will just wait and see.”

Nicho Hynes during Game I of the State of Origin series in 2023.
Nicho Hynes looks on from the bench during State of Origin I in 2023.

The halfback said of his calf injury: “When you get a little calf strain it’s always a risk pushing it too early. Clinically with how many it takes to recover, I’m not too sure how many days it usually is.

“The physios had to weigh up whether they were going to risk playing me or not, it felt good in the test and the training session I did do. It’s always a risk when you’ve got something straining in an annoying area, and I guess players do play on them a fair bit.

“But I felt like the team needed me and the club needed me to pull through to put on a performance. I want to be on the ball, I want to be everywhere for my teammates… I wasn’t going to play if I couldn’t play my natural game.”

with AAP