In his first interview since joining the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues squad for Game Three preparations, Melbourne Storm utility Nicho Hynes admitted he “didn’t really know where I’d be at this time of year” as he remained in and out of first grade early in the season.
Yet several injuries in key positions for the current ladder-leaders – Cameron Munster (foot), Harry Grant (hamstring) and Ryan Papenhuyzen (concussion) – has seen Hynes play every game since Round 3 and ten in the starting 13, mostly in the fullback role.
Now Hynes’ consistent form has earnt him a call-up to NSW camp and he is “grateful” for the experience.
“I didn’t think so (being in the Blues’ squad),” Hynes said.
“We had ‘Paps’ (Papenhuyzen) there at fullback at the Storm, so didn’t know when I was getting my opportunity.
“Obviously with ‘Paps’ going down I had to take an opportunity and I’m really enjoying my time, and really grateful to be here.”
The Cronulla recruit’s arrival at Kingscliff this week was also the first time he trained under his future NRL coach in Craig Fitzgibbon.
It was for that reason that a phone call from Brad Fittler’s assistant took Hynes off-guard when he was asked to join the squad as they attempt an historic 3-0 series win.
“I was just sitting at home, me and my roommates at Melbourne,” Hynes recalled.
“I was watching TV and had a missed call from ‘Fitzy’ (Fitzgibbon), and I thought it might have been a discussion on next year.
“He said ‘What are you doing during the week?’, and I thought not much because of the restrictions at the moment. Then he said ‘How would like to come in and join the Origin squad?’, and I didn’t believe it at first but it turns out he was being pretty serious.
“I was very surprised but very happy and got to call my family, and they were very proud as well.”