Nicho Hynes, the accomplished playmaker for Cronulla, has shed light on how James Tedesco, Sydney Roosters‘ captain, provided valuable guidance during the challenging Origin period and motivated him to enhance his leadership skills.
The Sharks are counting on Hynes’ outstanding performance this coming Saturday. To stop the Roosters, who are riding on a five-game winning streak, they need Hynes at his top form. This scenario resonates with Tedesco, who also faced scrutiny over his performance early this season. However, he regained form in the past month after battling criticism over NSW’s Origin series loss.
In the looming elimination final at PointsBet Stadium on Saturday, the spotlight will be on Hynes and Tedesco, arguably the game’s two most crucial players. Equally pivotal will be the tactical skirmish between old friends and head coaches, Craig Fitzgibbon and Trent Robinson.
Hynes, aged 27, disclosed how Tedesco emerged as an unexpected pillar of support during a tough time in his career. “Teddy was the one who pointed out to me the NRL rollercoaster, and I hadn’t really understood what that was until this year,” said Hynes during a Tuesday interview.
They had a conversation after Origin I when Tedesco noticed his fellow player down. “We had a chat after Origin I, he could see I was down, and said to me, ‘don’t worry mate, I’m copping it, too’. He said it was the NRL rollercoaster,” Hynes revealed.
Tedesco, known for his minimalist but impactful talks, helped Hynes’ outlook. “Just him saying those words, I thought, ‘wow, if James Tedesco has gone through it, I’ll go through it at some stage’, commented Hynes. He added that they kept in touch after the Origin period and that he aspires to be as much of a leader as Tedesco is one day.
Hynes had been feeling dejected after the Sharks suffered early elimination in the 2020 season, including losing a gut-wrenching golden-point qualifying final to the Cowboys. His frustration made him leave mid-way through a US vacation with Sharks’ mate Toby Rudolf.
As he returns to form, Hynes acknowledged the importance of his role, especially if the Sharks seek to reach further into the championship. “I’ve turned the corner with my game management and control – my game management is the best it’s been,” he commented.
And he acknowledged the threat posed by the Roosters: “We’ll need to be at our best. The Roosters are a great team, they have more than a handful of big-moment players [and] big-game experience, and we need to shut them down.”
Cronulla received some good news as Connor Tracey was declared free from severe knee injury, and backup fullback Will Kennedy, after a six-week hiatus due to a hamstring injury, may have a chance to be back in action.
Tracey, with three prior ACL injuries in his left knee, affirmed that a post-game scan post Canberra confirmed nothing but a minor twitch in his knee. “It’s nothing serious, which is good, and I knew [on the day] I had just twinged it,” Tracey said. He expressed confidence in playing after a lighter week.