NRL News: Blues won’t rush Moses in as ex-Storm stars butt heads over Hynes, the fuel that’s fired up NAS


Nicho Hynes is on track to get his first No.7 jersey for NSW with new coach Michael Maguire set to ignore a late push from Mitchell Moses to return early from injury.

Moses is hopeful of making a comeback from a broken foot next weekl for Parramatta ahead of schedule in a bid to also reclaim his Blues starting spot.

He deputised for Nathan Cleary last year and is in contention to do so again in Origin I at Accor Stadium on June 5 but Maguire and his Blues selectors are unlikely to rush him into the side with so little recent game time.

Hynes has been in top form for Cronulla but missed last week’s win over Melbourne with a calf injury and is no certainty to suit up against the Roosters on Saturday at Magic Round.

His former teammate, Storm legend Cameron Smith, said Hynes still needed to show he was up to Origin after a lacklustre debut last year when he came on as a replacement late in the contest in Adelaide and missed a crucial tackle.

“I still have a question on Nicho to make that step up,” Smith said on SEN.

“He’s only had the one opportunity, now I know he got thrown out in the centres and he was a part of that run of play where (Cameron) Munster made that linebreak and the Hammer went down field and Queensland scored.

“I’ve seen over the period of time that I’ve followed footy and played State of Origin, that you can be one of the better players in the NRL competition, but State of Origin is a different game.

“Some guys, they just can’t make the step to the next level, as a former teammate, I’d love to see Nicho Hynes prove a lot of people wrong but the jury is still out on whether he can play in that arena at that level.

“There’s no doubt he’s a high-quality NRL player, he’s one of the best halves in the comp, he’s won the Dally M but until you go into that arena and dominate… like people are still talking about Nathan Cleary not (dominating) an Origin series yet.

“Nicho has only had that really brief opportunity at that level, he’s yet to be given the reigns of the football side, of that state.”

Nicho Hynes. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Another former teammate from Hynes’ Melbourne days, Roosters hooker Brandon Smith held the opposite view to his namesake.

“Nicho has been one of the best in the comp for the last three years, he has won a Dally M, he is playing unreal footy at the moment,” Smith told The Bye Round podcast. “I don’t understand why they are off him. He has played like 10 minutes in an Origin … at centre. I think he will relish the big game.

“He is a winner. His side is on top of the table. It just pisses me off a little bit. I think he is the best halfback there is on offer. Obviously Cleary is the No.1 halfback in the comp but he is out for eight weeks. It just annoys the shit out of me.”

Nelson battles back from blow to ego

Giant Melbourne prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona feels he’s getting back to his best after some early season turmoil left him shaken at the Storm.

The 28-year-old is part of the Melbourne outfit looking to rebound from their loss to ladder-leaders Cronulla when they take on Parramatta on Sunday during Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium.

Asofa-Solomona said the Storm had identified their discipline and defence as areas to improve as they tackle an Eels outfit also coming off a defeat.

The 28-year-old will start from the bench, as he’s done in the past four matches since breaking back into the top side in round seven.

The New Zealand international admitted being forced to work his back through reserve grade after pre-season hamstring injuries was a tough pill to swallow.

“I understood why I was going back but it definitely was a bit of a blow to the ego,” Asofa-Solomona told AAP.

“Obviously it was frustrating as I know what I can offer to a team so it was definitely a blow to the confidence, but I always try to look for the good in the bad so I went back and did my time.

“Body-wise I’m back to 100 per cent … I feel like I’ve definitely got a lot more to offer.”

Having to bide his time in the NSW Cup led to rumours Asofa-Solomona was on the outer with the Melbourne hierarchy, although he signed a four-year deal last season.

He said he felt vulnerable despite being reassured by club chairman Matt Tripp.

“He (Tripp) called me up straight away and shut it down, but I was still playing reserve grade so I wasn’t too sure about what was going on there.

“My mum and family were asking what was going on and it’s always challenging when it affects your family.”

While he conceded he was too aggressive last year, leading to penalty trouble, Asofa-Solomona said he needed to play to his strengths. 

“I’ve been playing pretty conservative the last few weeks trying to build that trust and confidence within the team, but I feel like that’s not my game,” he said.

He said the Sharks showed the way in their 25-18 victory, making inroads through the middle and he hoped to do some damage himself against the Eels.

“We can take a leaf out of their book and let our big boys run the ball a bit more,” the 189-game veteran said.

“I’m sure Parramatta will be looking at that game and taking something from the Sharks too.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.