Nicho Hynes
NSW expect Nicho Hynes to train fully ahead of the Origin opener. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby league

Blues dismiss concerns over Hynes’ fitness for Origin

Scott Bailey May 27, 2024

NSW expect Nicho Hynes to hit the ground running ahead of State of Origin I, adamant the halfback’s problematic calf won’t impact the Blues’ preparations.

Two days after failing to get through Cronulla’s 42-0 loss to Penrith on Saturday night, Hynes arrived at NSWRL headquarters on Monday as the state’s new No.7.

Blues officials are confident the 27-year-old will be able to train from their first full session on Wednesday, in a team full of new combinations and with 11 changes.

“He had a scan yesterday and it looked really good. There’s no further damage and I think it actually looked better,” coach Michael Maguire said.

“I reckon he’ll hit the ground running on day one. That’s what we’re working towards.

“We’re really confident with where he’s at.”

If Hynes was to have issues, it is likely Luke Keary would be the man to come into the halves after initially being named as 19th man for the Blues.

Maguire is also backing Hynes’ ability to handle the heat at No.7.

He played only 12 minutes off the bench on debut last year, and admitted a missed tackle in the centres and subsequent Blues axing rattled him.

The halfback has been among the NRL’s best this year, but endured one of his worst nights in years against Penrith on Saturday before succumbing to calf tightness.

“He’s ready to go,” Maguire said. 

“I’m really super confident with how Nicho’s been.

“Listening to the conversations of what he’s had to face over his career and what he’s learnt, I’m looking forward to how he comes into camp because he’s a leader.”

Michael Maguire
 New Blues coach Michael Maguire has rung the changes for Origin I. Image by Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS 

Maguire also defended going with form over legacy in several positions, while holding onto a NSW jersey in his first press conference as a Blues coach in camp.

He went with a gut feel that Dylan Edwards was ready for a shot at Origin, and said there was no discussion with James Tedesco on whether his NSW career was over.

The Blues coach labelled Zac Lomax as one of the form players of the competition in his unwanted position of wing, and defended picking rugby-bound centre Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii.

“I met Joseph at the age of 13, tried to recruit him a long time ago. I know he’s passionate around rugby league,” Maguire said. 

“His future is the future but at this present moment, we’ve got a job to do and that’s performing and playing for the Blues. 

“And I know he’s grown up wanting to do this.”

Maguire also said hooker Reece Robson was picked over Apisai Koroisau based on his qualities in both defence and attack, but saved his most significant praise for new captain Jake Trbojevic.

Jake Trbojevic
 Jake Trbojevic is thrilled to get the chance to captain the Blues. Image by Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS 

“You can’t ask for much more than when Jake talks about the jersey and the passion that he has for it,” Maguire said.

“We’re a big state. There’s a lot that goes on. People out in the country, going through good times and tough times. And in the city. 

“Jakey, to me, represents a lot of that, by the way he talks and the passion that he has towards what the jersey means.

“He probably wasn’t sure where he sat from a team point of view, but everyone can see why people love playing with him.”