Nicho Hynes in eye-opening new revelation about Brad Fittler after State of Origin snub

The Cronulla star says he blames himself for being axed from the Blues side after just one game.

Pictured left Brad Fittler and right Nicho Hynes
Nicho Hynes says he doesn't blame Brad Fittler for dropping him from the Blues side after a State of Origin debut he wishes he could forget. Image: Getty

Nicho Hynes has admitted that he was not prepared enough for the Blues utility role in last year's State of Origin series and insists he has no hard feelings towards Brad Fittler for axing him. The 2022 Dally M winner made his New South Wales debut in game one last year but was only used in the final few minutes off the bench at centre. His short cameo was punctuated by a crucial tackle miss that led to a Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow try.

The Blues lost the game and Hynes was dropped for the remainder of the series, with the Sharks star's form suffering in the months that followed. Hynes says his axing led him to reflect on what he could have done better to ensure he doesn't have a repeat of last year if he earns a call-up under new Blues coach Michael Maguire.

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The 27-year-old says he is using last year's State of Origin "heartbreak" as motivation for the 2024 NRL season. "It hurt a lot... him telling me I was in the team for the first Origin after the Knights game in Coffs Harbour, (it) went from the highest of highs to a week after being at the lowest of lows," Hynes told Fox Sports Australia.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 30:  Nicho Hynes of the Sharks celebrates kicking a field goal to win the match in golden point extra time during the round 20 NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at PointsBet Stadium, on July 30, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Nicho Hynes celebrates kicking a field goal to win in golden point during the round 20 NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Image: Getty (Matt King via Getty Images)

"I don’t blame Freddy for it, I blame myself for a lot of it. Could there have been a clearer plan? Could I have trained there more during the week? Yeah, probably. But I need to make sure I put ownership on it myself to go and be better there."

Hynes says in the weeks that followed he was so desperate to prove everyone wrong that it resulted in him losing form as he went away from focussing on doing his job for the Sharks. "I wasn’t playing my best footy... and I’m lucky it only took a couple of weeks to snap out of it. I started playing some good footy again but look, it was hard. I felt like I let my teammates down, I let my state down and myself and my family down," he said.

The 27-year-old's rollercoaster 2023 season ended on a high, after being selected as a utility by Mal Meninga for the Kangaroos' Pacific Championships campaign. After admitting he felt unprepared to play at centre in last year's State of Origin series, Hynes went into the Kangaroos camp prepared to play any position across the backline. "I didn’t prep for right centre, but I went in (Kangaroos camp) and prepped for everything, I made sure I prepped for every position," Hynes said.

Braden Hamlin-Uele says Sharks side feels disrespected

Cronulla prop Braden Hamlin-Uele says the Sharks forward pack feels disrespected heading into the new season. Addin Fonua-Blake will be a welcome addition to the team in 2025, but Hamlin-Uele says the side already has all the muscle and power needed through the middle in 2024.

"Everyone can have their own opinion, they can say what they want to say. We'll just let our actions do all the talking," Hamlin-Uele said. "I think our pack is going to go to another level.

"There are boys that have a chip on their shoulder about feeling like we're getting disrespected a bit around. But we'll let people do their thing. We trust every single person in our squad, top to bottom. We're not waiting for anyone to come, we're not waiting for anyone to leave. We're going to go about our business and do our job."

with AAP

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