Storm debutant could have stayed a Cutter
CAPTAIN of the 2018 Mackay Cutters Nicho Hynes could have missed his epic entrance to the NRL without the support of his former club.
The former Mackay player made history when he played fullback and helped the Storm to a 26-16 win over South Sydney Rabbitohs at the weekend; but Hynes's football journey could have gone a very different way at the beginning of the year.
Hynes had already signed on for another year with the Mackay Cutters after the 2018 Intrust Super Cup season but Cutters coach Steve Sheppard has no regrets about stepping aside when Hynes was offered a contract with the Melbourne NRL team.
"I think the club can be quite proud of the time, effort and resources we put into Nicho,” Sheppard said.
"He had actually signed with us for the next year when he got offered the opportunity with Melbourne.
"We were the club that willingly let him go because we thought he had potential in his career.”
Sheppard said from his time coaching against Hynes in the NRL Under-20s competition he knew the Gosford local could achieve greatness.
"It was in the U20s system I thought we could definitely do something with him,” he said.
When Sheppard was appointed coach of the Cutters in 2017 he wasted no time calling the then Sunshine Coast Falcons player.
"The first two years he was tremendous here. He would improve with every step, you could see he was getting physically better,” he said.
"He's a skilful player and is someone I think could be a coach in the future. He's very smart and understands the game well.
"Hopefully this is the first game of many,” he said.
"I always tell the boys that I don't want to see one or two (NRL games), I want to make sure we give them a good grounding to get 50 to 100 NRL players come through the system.”