Nicho Hynes in brutal admission about Origin flop as Sharks star firms for Blues side

Hynes has not featured for the Blues in Origin since his short and ill-fated debut.

Nicho Hynes has revealed the emotional toll that an ill-fated State of Origin debut in last year's series took on him, as the Sharks NRL star firms for another crack at the Blues jersey in 2024. The 2022 Dally M Medal winner played in Game I of last year's Origin series for the Blues but only came on late in the match and featured for just 12 minutes out of position at centre.

He was exposed in defence by Cameron Munster, who shrugged off a flimsy attempted tackle from Hynes before setting up Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow for a crucial go-ahead try for the Maroons. The Sharks superstar came under heavy criticism for his performance for the Blues in the Game I defeat and was not picked again by former NSW coach Brad Fittler for the rest of the series.

Pictured here is Nicho Hynes for the Sharks and Blues in Origin.
Nicho Hynes says his ill-fated Origin debut for the Blues took a massive toll as he firms for selection in 2024. Pic: Getty

Hynes' form at Cronulla also suffered in the weeks after the brutal setback and he admitted that the disappointment took a heavy toll on him mentally. The Sharks halfback eventually returned to form and did enough to win a place in Mal Meninga's Kangaroos squad for the Pacific Championships at the end of last season.

The 27-year-old is again considered one of the favourites to partner Nathan Cleary in the halves for the Blues in this year's Origin series, with his Sharks side flying in first spot on the NRL ladder and the playmaker topping the Dally M Medal count. Speaking on Triple M’s The Rush Hour with Gus, Jude & Wendell’s Hero, Highlight & Hardship podcast, Hynes made the brutal admission that it took his selection for the Kangaroos to truly get over his representative heartache for NSW.

“After what happened with Origin last year, I wasn’t ready to put on another rep jersey for a while,” Hynes revealed. “That’s how much it impacted me. Then again, the flip side, that made me learn so many lessons about me and have a harsh look at myself.

"I think that set me up to go and be in that Aussie squad, do that same bench role, do the same thing and I just went into that so confident. I went into the Prime Ministers and had a great week with Daly Cherry-Evans and he just made me feel 10-foot tall again and just gave me so much confidence in myself as a rugby league player and as a person.

“And once Cleary got ruled out and they called me in, I just felt so at home. I’d never felt more comfortable in a rep arena in my life and that was all because of those boys around me, backing me to be in that team and to play to my strengths. There’s probably no better feeling I’ve had in a long time.”

Hynes admitted after his ill-fated Origin debut that “the pressure probably got to me”, and said the brutal experience had taught him a valuable lesson about playing the utility role and defending in an unfamiliar position. But Hynes could have the chance to make amends for the Blues in this year's Origin series, after putting up an irresistible case for selection in Michael Maguire's first squad as NSW coach.


Hynes played arguably his best game of the season in last week's 40- demolition of the Raiders in Canberra, scoring one try, setting up two more and making eight tackle breaks to go with a season-best 456 kicking metres as he guided his team around the park. While there has been criticism of Hynes' defence, the Sharks halfback made 25 tackles and only missed one in a display that will surely make Maguire sit up and take notice.

Nicho Hynes celebrates with Sharks teammates during their huge win over Canberra in round eight of the NRL. Pic: Getty
Nicho Hynes celebrates with Sharks teammates during their huge win over Canberra in round eight of the NRL. Pic: Getty

The 27-year-old does face competition for the Blues No.6 jersey from incumbent Cody Walker and Panthers star Jahrome Luai. However, he is clearly the in-form playmaker for the Blues right now and Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon was quick to endorse his man for another crack at Origin.

"He's got a nice balance to his game at the moment," Fitzgibbon said. "He's obviously got the talent and skill.... but his defensive form is as good as I've seen so he wouldn't be out of place (in Origin)." Hynes says he's matured since the disappointment of last year's series and would be ready to wear the No.6 jersey for the Blues if called upon. "If I'm not ready right now, then I don't think I'll ever be," he said. I feel like if I'm called for that job, then I am ready to play No.6. I'd just love to play a rep game in my position."