The Cronulla Sharks have snapped up Melbourne Storm star Nicho Hynes on a three-year, $1.8 million deal set to begin at the start of the 2022 NRL season.
The Sharks ousted the Broncos, the Raiders, the Warriors and the Storm to Hynes’ signature.
Watch The 2021 NRL Telstra Premiership Live & On-Demand with No Ad-Breaks During Play. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >
Hynes has been in terrific form for Craig Bellamy’s side this season, and is coming off the back of a superhuman performance against the hapless Broncos where he made three line breaks, ran for 214 metres, put up two try assists, kicked six from seven attempts on goal as well as a try to boot.
The Daily Telegraph reported that Hynes and his father met with incoming Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon in the Central Coast – where the 24-year-old grew up and played his junior footy with the Umina Beach Bunnies and the Woy Woy Roosters.
Cronulla chairman Steve Mace couldn’t hide his delight at the signing of Hynes.
“This is massive for us,” Mace told The Daily Telegraph.
“It’s a huge vote of confidence in Fitzy, our whole football operation and the direction we are heading.
“We were always hopeful we’d be in a position to attract good playing with Fitzy on board.
“Nicho is a terrific young fella and it is a credit to Craig Bellamy and Frank Ponissi for developing not just a great footy player but a very humble young man.”
Melbourne Storm released a statement on Tuesday evening, with their General Manager of Football Frank Ponissi commenting that while the side would have loved Hynes on their books a little while longer, it ultimately wasn’t feasible.
Ponissi said: “We would have loved to have been in a position to extend Nicho’s time with Storm, but unfortunately, with his desire for a regular starting spot and the pressures of the salary cap, that hasn’t been possible.
“Nicho is an outstanding footballer, but just as importantly is an outstanding young man who is loved and respected by everyone at Storm.”
Hynes, who can operate as a fullback or five-eighth, has filled in for injured speedster Ryan Papenhuzen, who has had a tough time staying fit this season.
The Sharks have also tied down thundering forward Toby Rudolf and Will Kennedy for the upcoming season, as Fitzgibbon continues to shape his side for next season and beyond.
Fitzgibbon must first finish his duties as assistant coach at the injury-riddled Sydney Roosters this season before he takes over at PointsBet stadium.
Cronulla have endured a topsy-turvy season, finding themselves in 12th place but only two points outside of the top eight.
Meanwhile, Hynes’ current employers continue to blaze through the competition and are on the back of a nine-game winning streak.