Keary kept in NSW camp as Hynes urged to get some sleep

Scott Bailey |

Nicho Hynes is firming to play for NSW in State of Origin I against Queensland on June 5.
Nicho Hynes is firming to play for NSW in State of Origin I against Queensland on June 5.

The “coach whisperer” who forewarned Michael Maguire about Nicho Hynes’s calf injury has urged the halfback to get more sleep, as NSW pushed back Luke Keary’s exit from their pre-State of Origin camp.

The Blues remain confident Hynes will play in Wednesday’s State of Origin series opener, but have given themselves a clear back-up plan if Hynes is not fit.

Back-up half Keary was on Friday scheduled to return to Sydney from the NSW camp – aptly in the Blue Mountains – in plans that would have allowed him to train with the Roosters on Saturday and play on Sunday.

However his exit has now been pushed back a day after talks between NSW coach Maguire and Roosters counterpart Trent Robinson.

It means Keary will train in an opposed session with NSW on Saturday morning, before returning to Sydney to play North Queensland on Sunday.

The retiring playmaker will then re-enter NSW camp after Sunday’s match, ensuring he is available for every training session of the Blues’ nine-day preparatory campaign.

Bradley Charles Stubbs.
Bradley Charles Stubbs says Nicho Hynes ‘looks tired’. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Keary’s release is in line with NRL policies, which dictate that players outside the 18-man team must be available to play club football in the weekend before Origin.

Hynes ran with Blues teammates for the first time on Thursday, after sitting out NSW’s opening training session on Wednesday as part of a pre-arranged plan.

But the league identity known as The Coach Whisperer – Bradley Charles Stubbs – still has some concerns over the NSW halfback.

“I told Michael (Maguire) last Friday that Nicho was going to get injured in the Panthers game,” Stubbs told AAP.

“You could tell by his subconscious mind and Craig Fitzgibbon’s press conference talking about his calf.

“I saw a photo of Nicho this week, and the eyes are the windows to the soul. He looks tired, he needs to sleep.”

Stubbs has worked closely with Maguire before, including during South Sydney’s 2014 premiership run.

He is not in camp with Maguire this week, and is not formally working with either of the NSW or Queensland squads.

Known in rugby league circles for “mentoring the mentors”, Stubbs has also worked alongside medical professionals for the past eight years.

In his recent book, The Science of Subconscious, he detailed how he was able to help turn a 12-month recovery from an ACL and MCL tear into a four-month comeback while avoiding surgery.

Hynes’s injury is not anywhere near as long term, but has the potential to determine NSW’s hopes, with Nathan Cleary and Mitch Moses already unavailable.

The 1994 Blues remain the only side in Origin history have lost Game I at home, and recovered to win the series.