Mitchell Moses goes public with eye-opening claim about Nicho Hynes after Origin axing

Hynes was axed to make way for Moses for Origin Game 2.

Mitchell Moses has leapt to the defence of axed NSW halfback Nicho Hynes after describing his fellow No.7 as a "scapegoat" from the Blues' defeat in Game 1 of the State of Origin series. Hynes could feel a little hard done by after being dropped from NSW coach Michael Maguire's squad in favour of Moses for the must-win Game 2 at the MCG on June 26, having failed to stamp his mark for the 12-man Blues in the series opener in Sydney.

Joseph Suaalii's eighth-minute send off made the task almost impossible for the Blues but there was a widespread belief that Hynes' kicking game could have been better. The Sharks playmaker also failed to get the NSW attack clicking in Sydney, and Maguire will be hoping the longer and more polished kicking game of Moses and the different qualities he offers with ball in hand, can help NSW level the series at the MCG.

On the right is NSW Blues State of Origin halfback Mitchell Moses and Nicho Hynes on left.
Mitchell Moses thinks Nicho Hynes has been made out to be a scapegoat for the Blues after defeat in State of Origin Game 1. Pic: Getty

Moses says while he's delighted to earn a recall to the Blues side after missing out on Game I because of a foot injury that sidelined him for 10 weeks, he also feels for Hynes. And the Parramatta halfback believes his rival No.7 never really got a proper opportunity to show what he can do at Origin level after the Blues were made to play the majority of the match with a man down.

"I'll be sure to reach out to him after this, it's unlucky," Moses said about Hynes' axing. "I feel sorry for him in that he had 12 men the whole game and he was pretty much made the scapegoat. I feel sorry for him... I get my chance and I've got to grab it with both hands."

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While the axing of Hynes appears harsh given the circumstances of Game 1, the truth is Maguire was widely reported to be leaning towards Moses as his first-choice No.7 anyway. It was thought that if Moses returned to the NRL before the Origin sides were named then Maguire would have picked him but the halfback's comeback from a broken foot was delayed.

Moses' NRL return for Parramatta coincided with a shock win over the high-flying Sharks - with Hynes rested for the game after Origin. Moses looked sharp for the Eels on his return but faced criticism for failing to get his side across the line in a loss to the Bulldogs one week later. He was also overshadowed by Eels halves partner Dylan Brown in last week's loss to the Roosters but Blues coach Maguire is confident he's the man for the job for NSW in Game 2.

"I've been talking to Mitch (for several months) and I've always thought Mitch is a good player," Maguire said. "You've got to make a decision and you're looking at kicking, the style of play, and Mitch has been there and done it before. Those things all come together with picking the squad the way I have."

Moses has looked solid if unspectacular in his three hit-outs for the Eels but was part of the Blues side that thumped QLD in the dead-rubber Game 3 last year. He'll team up with halves partner Jarome Luai for the must-win clash at the MCG tasked with getting the NSW attack firing and dominating field position with his long kicking game.

Pictured left to right, NSW State of Origin halfback Mitchell Moses and Nicho Hynes.
Mitchell Moses replaces Nicho Hynes at halfback for NSW in State of Origin Game 2 after the Sharks star failed to fire in the opening match of the series. Pic: Getty

“It’s not really (about) taking on the pressure. It’s about soaking up the moment. It’s going to take a team performance, not just myself to get us the win,” Moses said. “I feel really confident. In the games we (Parramatta) have played, we have been in plenty of the games with a chance to win.

“The spirits are still high at Parramatta. So I come in here full of confidence and ready to go. I’m just grateful Madge (Maguire) has shown trust in me and thrown me in the No.7 jersey.” The other big-name recall for the Blues is Rabbitohs superstar Latrell Mitchell, who replaces the suspended Suaalii.

Mitchell will slot back into his former position in the centres, where he has been so effective in the past. And Moses says it will be crucial to get the rampaging South Sydney star as much quality ball as possible so he can wreak havoc on the Maroons' defence. “Just get him the ball. It’s as simple as that,” Moses said about Mitchell.

“I think it’s our job as halves to distribute the ball and get the ball to him, and get him the ball in spots where he loves it. I don’t think there is a pressure on him. It’s up to me and Romy (Luai) to work up some stuff to try and get him the ball in good positions. He’s a quality player and he’s picked for a reason. He has such a big influence on a team. He’s got that aura about him, we just have to try and get him the ball.”

with AAP