Brad Fittler had a tough phone call to make on Monday, informing Nicho Hynes that he had been dropped from the Blues side altogether for next week’s game at Suncorp Stadium. Despite playing just 12 minutes in Origin I, Hynes was the victim of Cronulla’s shocking 54-10 loss to Melbourne on Sunday. Fittler chose to go for Parramatta’s Mitchell Moses in the halves and North Queensland hooker Reece Robson on the bench, and while Hynes begrudgingly accepted the decision, Fittler acknowledged that the young player deserved good things to happen to him.
“Nicho had a lot of media. I don’t know if he read it all, but there was an awful lot of it, almost to the point it was unhealthy,” said Fittler. “I think he understood. Nicho deserves a lot of good stuff to be happening to him. He was great in camp.”
Phil Gould, however, said on 100% Footy on Monday night that Hynes was left “fragile” after his cameo in game one that saw him miss a crucial tackle on Cameron Munster, who led to a Maroons try. Despite that, Fittler had “no regrets about picking him for game one” as Hynes did well otherwise.
Mitchell Moses was chosen as Fittler’s choice for No. 7 and Robson as one of the bench players, and Gould commented that Hynes was still a long way from running a team by himself at this level at the moment. However, Fittler disagreed, saying that the criticism of selecting Penrith players was unjustified, adding that Penrith have won two of the last three grand finals, making them a top-performing team.
“Let’s face it, Latrell’s good,” said Fittler, referring to Latrell Mitchell who will need to be kept on ice alongside his teammates Cameron Murray and Liam Martin until kickoff, due to Mitchell’s calf injury. “Some people can do things others can’t. That’s Latrell.”
Robson’s Dream Come True
Reece Robson, a Cowboys player, was excited to join the team, having expressed his desire to play for NSW years ago, despite growing up north of the border among a team of players who support Queensland. A determined Robson had said that he wanted to follow the footsteps of his idols, including coach Brad Fittler, Danny Buderus, and his much-loved player, Manly fullback Brett Stewart.
Robson had been praised for his defensive skills, and he is set to work in tandem with Damien Cook, who has been reinstated as No.9, in the upcoming match. Cook, who was ready to fly to Mooloolaba with his family, was overjoyed to be called back into the squad. Despite missing out on game one, Cook persevered and never gave up on returning to the big stage – and he’s happy to be back playing alongside his Bunnies teammate, Latrell Mitchell, who missed last year’s series due to injury.
“He’s always done a great job whenever he’s been in this jersey, we just have to let him do his thing and make sure he gets his body right,” said Cook.