Calf issue casts fresh doubt on Hynes’ Origin hopes

Jasper Bruce |

Nicho Hynes’ State of Origin hopes are in doubt after he sustained a calf injury against Penrith.
Nicho Hynes’ State of Origin hopes are in doubt after he sustained a calf injury against Penrith.

Nicho Hynes’ training load will need to be modified if he is picked for State of Origin, Cronulla coach Craig Fitzgibbon said after his halfback reported calf tightness the day before the NSW team announcement for game one.

Going into the game as the favourite to snare the Blues’ No.7 jersey, Hynes wobbled to his feet just before halftime in Cronulla’s 42-0 loss to Penrith on Saturday night, having copped a knee to the head from Isaah Yeo.

Hynes passed his head injury assessment but remained off the field, as the calf that has troubled him in recent weeks stiffened up during his spell on the sidelines.

“I’m not certain of the extent, (substituting Hynes out) was more to do with cooling down and tightening up than anything” Fitzgibbon said.

But the Sharks coach said even if Hynes had finished the game, he would have been likely to enter Blues camp under an injury cloud.

“Even if he’d got through, he still would have needed to be modified for (Origin camp),” Fitzgibbon said of the player’s lingering calf trouble.

“He’s done well to get through last week and then was getting through tonight. 

“It’s still there, I don’t know the severity of it but it’s not like it’s completely gone.”

Hynes missed the round-10 defeat of Melbourne with a similar issue, but returned to star in the win over the Sydney Roosters a week later – albeit with some discomfort.

With Nathan Cleary, Mitch Moses and Adam Reynolds all injured, the in-form Hynes appeared assured of starting at halfback for the Blues in Origin I at Accor Stadium in Sydney on June 5.

Even prior to his injury scare, Hynes endured a tough night on Saturday, kicking the ball out twice on the full as the Sharks struggled for any kind of attacking momentum.

If Hynes is unavailable, coach Michael Maguire could look to seven-time Blues five-eighth Jarome Luai, who has been playing halfback for Penrith in recent weeks.

Canterbury’s Matt Burton could also be switched from five-eighth, while Chad Townsend, Isaiya Katoa and Luke Keary are more left-field options.

Hynes’ Sharks teammates Cam McInnes and Jesse Ramien came into the round-12 clash hoping to put the finishing touches on their own Origin cases.

But a maiden Blues jersey was the last thing on McInnes’ mind when the final whistle sounded on Saturday’s 42-0 thrashing.

“I’m just thinking about tonight and how disappointing that was. My head is so far from (Origin) right now,” he said.

AAP