Sharks superstar Nicho Hynes has opened up on his ongoing personal pain off the field, describing it as ‘the toughest time of his life’ in a raw press conference on Monday.
The reigning Dally M Medal winner has endured a tough off-season, with his mother Julie set to face trial on drug-related charges and leaving the Cronulla halfback devastated.
Hynes has become the face of the game in the past 12 months and has never shied away from answering the tough questions or speaking about challenging topics – but this is a unique and unfortunate situation.
Speaking to the media ahead of the club’s Round 1 clash with the Rabbitohs, Hynes opened up on his recent struggles and how he is dealing with his mother’s ongoing legal battle.
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“It’s no secret it’s been a challenging time…it’s probably been the toughest time in my life,” he said.
“Especially with just the way it’s been spoken about it in the media and seeing my mum getting dragged through the media and the way people react to it.
“Everyone’s going to have opinions on this story and they’re going to react the way they want to react but I’m going to stand by mum every step of the way in this and be there for her.
“I’ll visit her and what happened I don’t think was the right outcome. You can’t really judge on that, but there’s no way in the world that I’m going to leave her high and dry now.
“She needs the support and I need my support, and I’ll get my support and she’ll get her support and I’m going to be there for her.
“Come sentencing day, I’ll probably say a little bit more and hopefully we’ll get a better outcome then – but at the end of the day, it is what it is and I’ve got a job to do here for the Sharks.
“It’s hard…I’m dealing with it the best I can and putting things in place so I can deal with it.”
Hynes was all but ready to pull out of the recent NRL All Stars clash given his off-field circumstances, but opted to play and try to stand up as a role model for the rugby league community.
He believes that his toughness through adversity can have a positive impact on tomorrow’s generation, especially those kids who have had troubled upbringings.
“I wanted to go to the All Stars and go and play to the best of my ability,” he said.
“The whole reason of the All Stars is to inspire the next generation of Indigenous kids, Maori kids and even just Australian kids.
“They see the way we play and how we react to certain things and there’s a lot of young Indigenous kids probably walking the same line that I’m walking through.
“They might have parents in prison, they might not have parents at all and might struggle…hopefully I could inspire at least one kid by going and playing my best and winning that game of footy.
“I’ve a job to do as a role model to inspire the next generation of people and that’s what I’m here to do.”
The 26-year-old looks set to miss Saturday night’s game, but is hoping to be given until the captain’s run to prove his fitness and overcome a calf issue.