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This week in history: Sharks land big fish in Nicho

For this week's retrospective glance, we lower our gaze and look only as far back as 2021, when Cronulla signed current halfback Nicho Hynes on a three-year deal from the Melbourne Storm.

During this week three years ago – June 1, 2021 – Cronulla announced Storm utility Hynes would join Dale Finucane and Cam McInnes at the club for the 2022 season.

The Umina Beach Bunnies and Woy Woy Roosters junior was a product of the Manly Sea Eagles pathway system, playing Harold Matthews and SG Ball before three seasons with their under-20s team.

In 2015, Hynes was pivotal in the Sea Eagles making the Holden Cup grand final, playing alongside Tom Trbojevic and his current teammate Jesse Ramien. In the season decider, Hynes, wearing the number 14 jersey, made a number of breaks. However, he was unable to change the outcome in Manly’s favour as they were outmatched by a Panthers side featuring future NRL premiership winners Dylan Edwards, Jarome Luai, Moses Leota and James Fisher-Harris.

Hynes playing Holden Cup for Manly in 2015.
Hynes playing Holden Cup for Manly in 2015.

In 2016, the same year Cronulla claimed their maiden NRL title, the future Sharks star completed a solid pre-season with Trent Barrett’s Manly side and looked destined to make his first-grade debut later that year.

Fortunately for Cronulla, after an injury-interrupted season, Manly chose not to offer Hynes a contract for 2017, meaning his time with the team from the northern beaches was done and dusted.

Without an NRL contract, Hynes spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons in the Queensland Cup with the Mackay Cutters. Playing in the halves, his form caught the eye of the Storm who added him to their 2019 roster and sat him in waiting with their feeder club the Sunshine Coast Falcons.

On 11 August 2019, Hynes made his NRL debut for Melbourne against the South Sydney Rabbitohs in his hometown at Central Coast Stadium in front of family and friends.

Following the cancellation of the 2020 Queensland Cup due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hynes played 11 NRL matches in a utility role, mostly from the interchange bench, signing a further one-year contract extension to stay at the Storm for the 2021 season.

Hynes was named on the bench in the Storm's 26–20 NRL grand final win over the Penrith Panthers in 2020, however was an unused interchange player.

On this week in 2021, Cronulla announced a major coup when it was reported Hynes was coming to the Shire for the 2022 season. Hynes added to the signings of McInnes and Finucane ahead of coach Craig Fitzgibbon's arrival. Having played the majority of his time at the Storm as either a utility or fullback, it was unsure where Nicho would fit into a Sharks system.

Hynes was named in the number seven jersey to start the season in a loss to the Raiders. Not even the most ardent of Sharks fans could have predicted that by year's end he would play a major role in the team finishing the regular season in second spot, while at the same time winning the 2022 Dally M Medal with the highest-ever individual score.

This week, Hynes further enhanced his resume by being named at halfback for the Blues to start the 2024 State of Origin series. Contracted to the Sharks until the end of 2029, plenty are hoping Nicho can not only deliver an Origin series win but also a second title to the Shire in the not-too-distant future.

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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