A week after making a plea for Cronulla-Sutherland to “sign me up for life”, Nicho Hynes has inked a five-year extension on his current deal to keep him at the Sharks until 2029.
Cronulla-Sutherland said the deal was “one of the most significant signing announcements in Sharks history” and Hynes himself – the Dally M winner from 2022 – gave an insight into its meaning.
“I thought it was something that would never happen in my life – signing a long-term contract in the NRL,” the 26 year-old Gosford junior said, who could have negotiated with other clubs from 1 November this year.
“I never really wanted to go to market. Loyalty is a big value of mine.
“This club and ‘Fitzy’ (coach Craig Fitzgibbon) gave me an opportunity to be a starting player – to come to a club and own it and be the main man, be the halfback of a NRL team.
“As soon as I came to this club and started here with Fitzy, I’ve enjoyed my time with Fitzy. Everyone has welcomed me so well and been so generous and nice.”
Under the influence of True Blue Fitzgibbon - a former Westpac NSW Blues assistant coach who was appointed to the Sharks last year - Hynes helped steer the club to a top-four finish.
The pair worked together initially in the 2021/22 NSW Origin squads.
Hynes finished 2022 as the NRL’s fourth-highest points scorer, led the League for line-break assists, and was third in try assists.
“My job is to leave a legacy for the next person who will wear that No.7 jersey – the next generation who will lead the Sharks,” Hynes said.
“The local juniors strive to be us so I want to really make sure that this team and club is in position to play lots of finals football and to fight for premierships.
“I’ve never pictured – now - putting on another club’s jersey. In saying that Melbourne Storm jersey meant a lot to me too…. I owe a lot of thanks to that club too.
“And I want to thank my teammates, everyone at the club left and right, top to bottom, and the loyal fans for believing in me.”
Hynes will be 32 by the time this new deal runs its term.
He has only played two NRL games so far, due to a calf injury, but is equal second on the stats list with four try assists.