Tough miss will shape Nicho Hynes: Coach Fitzgibbon

Jasper Bruce |

Nicholas Hynes looks on after his late missed field goal attempt cost Sharks victory over Bulldogs.
Nicholas Hynes looks on after his late missed field goal attempt cost Sharks victory over Bulldogs.

Craig Fitzgibbon believes Nicho Hynes’ missed field goal attempt in extra time will help shape the Cronulla halfback as he looks to rebound from a tough month.

With the scores tied at 14 on Friday night, Hynes had the chance to snatch victory against Canterbury when the slow-starting Sharks rolled into the red zone.

But the 28-year-old shanked his shot from 18 metres out and directly in front, Matt Burton sealing the Bulldogs’ 15-14 victory with his own long-range strike only a minute later.

The miss continued a bumpy few weeks for the 2022 Dally M Medallist.

Hynes found himself dropped as NSW halfback following the State of Origin series opener after struggling to rouse the 12-man Blues into the contest at Accor Stadium.

In his first game after Origin I, Hynes missed a sideline conversion attempt that could have sent the Sharks to extra time against the Dolphins, who instead escaped with 30-28 win.

Having dropped four of their past five games, premiership hopefuls Cronulla can ill-afford their star player’s yips to continue.

But Fitzgibbon said in the long-term, Hynes’ latest miskick would do him good.

“It’s going to shape him,” the Sharks coach said. 

Nicholas Hynes
Nicholas Hynes of the Sharks runs with the ball during his side’s defeat by the Bulldogs in Sydney. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

“He’s got to go through it, it’s part of the responsibility for him. He’s accepting of that. He’s been stung before, he’s carried his divots a little bit but the last couple of weeks, he acknowledges it.”

Hynes has previously opened up about his struggles for confidence in the wash-up from his Origin debut last year, and the axing that followed.

But Fitzgibbon has been encouraged that in 2024, Hynes is continuing to put his hand up in pressure situations.

“It’ll sting, of course it’s going to sting, but I feel like he’s ready to keep going after the moments,” he said.

“He didn’t shy away from it, he put himself in position, but he’s got to ice it.”

Sharks captain Cam McInnes was quick to check on Hynes after the loss, which looks set to keep the Cronulla in third place on the ladder to finish round 17.

“I just said he’s our guy, he’s our man,” the lock said. “We’re all behind him. We’ll do great things with him leading us. Nothing’s changed, that’s what I said to him.”

A 9-1 start to the year has so far kept the Sharks’ rivals at bay down the ladder, but they could be as few as two competition points ahead of fourth place by the end of the weekend.

Upcoming clashes against Gold Coast and Wests Tigers have suddenly become vital for the Sharks as they look to keep their top-four hopes on track.

Fitzgibbon said Hynes would need to move on from his miss quickly. “He’s got to dust himself off pretty quick and look forward to the next moment,” Fitzgibbon said.

AAP