Hynes wants Sharks to flip script on NRL finals failure

George Clarke |

It’s time for the Sharks to realise their NRL potential, Nicho Hynes (centre) says.
It’s time for the Sharks to realise their NRL potential, Nicho Hynes (centre) says.

Nicho Hynes is urging Cronulla to put their poor finals record behind them and ensure 2024 is the year they make good on their undoubted potential.

The Sharks enter this season – the third with Hynes as the team’s halfback – with question marks continuing to hover over their calibre in crunch games.

Since Craig Fitzgibbon took charge of the club in 2022, the Sharks have lost all three of their finals clashes – despite comfortably making the top eight.

The club’s most recent post-season win came in 2018 but Hynes says he and his teammates are set on being the men who buck that trend.

“It is (crunch time for us) and everyone knows that,” Hynes said.

“There are going to be some players coming off contract over the next year or two, so it’s going to be a year where you’re going to have to fight, and fight hard, to get in the eight. And to fight for your contract.

“We’re in a really good spot with a lot of depth, and the hunger that’s come back after the last couple of years is unbelievable.

“The penny has dropped for a lot of us and we’re not going to be there to just make finals – we want to go further, and hopefully we can do that this year.”

Hynes knows Fitzgibbon won’t be afraid of making the tough calls if the Sharks fail to fire in the early part of 2024.

The Cronulla coach made several changes to his strongest 17 in the run-in towards last year’s finals series in a bid to spark their season.

Hynes said that with a bevvy of NRL-ready players waiting in the wings, the Sharks’ established names will have to battle to keep their place in the side.

“Since I’ve been here, this is the best shape we’ve been in,” Hynes said.

“There’s a lot of depth and there are a lot of young kids fighting for positions who could probably play NRL at some stage if our main players aren’t doing their job.

“Every player has to rock up every week, train well and put in a good performance, otherwise there’s someone coming through who’s going to take their spot, and that’s me included.”

AAP