Nicho Hynes' telling swipe at Brad Fittler saga after Kangaroos selection

The Kangaroos debutant was dropped from the Blues squad after a short bench cameo.

Nicho Hynes lines-up for the national anthem and Brad Fittler speaks.
Nicho Hynes (pictured left) is set to make his Kangaroos debut on the weekend and the halfback has made it clear the changes he has seen since he was dropped from the New South Wales camp under Brad Fittler (pictured right). (Getty Images)

Nicho Hynes is set to make his Kangaroos debut on the weekend against New Zealand off the bench and the Sharks star has taken a subtle swipe at his recent New South Wales camp under Brad Fittler. Mal Meninga will hand Hynes a dream debut for his nation having endured a rollercoaster NRL season.

The 2022 Dally M winner made his Blues debut this year under coach Fittler, but was only used in the final few minutes off the bench in a brutal cameo. The image of Hynes sitting on the bench in the 70th minute angered fans as he was thrown on at centre due to an injury.

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The Blues lost the game and Hynes was then dropped altogether, despite Nathan Cleary's injury at halfback. Hynes' form suffered for a month after his axing and he admitted Fittler's decision impacted his momentum.

After the Sharks were eliminated in the first round of the NRL finals, Hynes expected to be on holidays after a rollercoaster season. However, he was stunned to find out he had been included in Meninga's Kangaroos squad after Cleary's injury.

Daly Cherry-Evans, who has been in Hynes' position, admitted he has helped guide the halfback in camp to get him ready for his debut. And in an eye-opening comment, Hynes claimed he has more of a clear role in the Kangaroos set-up, compared to his time under Fittler for the Blues.

"I have a much clearer idea of what my role is this time around," Hynes said ahead of his debut. "That's with all due respect to the NSW camp. I will come in well-equipped to playing this role.

"Mal's been in this position before with similar players like Michael Morgan, (Cooper) Cronk, 'Chez' (Daly Cherry-Evans) did it too off the bench. We have a plan, we've trained it already and now it's a case of going out and nailing it."

Nicho Hynes watches on during State of Origin.
Nicho Hynes (pictured) spent most of his Blues debut on the bench and was dropped after Game I. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images) (Mark Kolbe via Getty Images)

Hynes admitted coming off the bench isn't his usual role at club level, but the former Melbourne Storm utility has experience in the position and once again dismissed the criticism surrounding his Blues debut. "I've done this before, and getting thrown out there with 10 minutes to go in an Origin game doesn't define what my capabilities are as a utility off the bench," Hynes said.

"I have been there and done that before, so I won't let that one thing define me in the era. I am a much more confident and mature player than I was six months ago."

Brad Fittler reacts.
Brad Fittler (pictured) has stepped down as Blues coach after the series loss. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images) (Brendon Thorne via Getty Images)

Brad Fittler steps down as Blues coach

Hynes' comments come after Fittler was criticised for the use of his bench players in the 2023 series loss to the Maroons. After Hynes' drama, In Game II, Fittler selected Damien Cook as the back-up No.9. He then used Cook at centre after an injury, which saw the Blues' game plan go out the window. Furthermore, Stefano Utoikamanu was used for 12 minutes in his debut off the bench.

Fittler was then called out ahead of Game III having only used Gutherson for a few minutes off the bench after the game had already been decided. Fitter recently announced his resignation as Blues coach, after Greg Alexander had also stepped down as his advisor.

Coach Michael Maguire is reportedly set to take the vacant role, which could be announced after he finishes his New Zealand duties in 2023.

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