SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 25: Nicho Hynes of the Storm offloads the ball during the round three NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Melbourne Storm at Panthers Stadium on March 25, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Despite the 2021 season being only three rounds old, teams are already looking towards 2022 and beyond.

Given clubs can speak to off-contract players from November (2020 in this case), we are seeing more and more instances where players sign for new clubs months in advance.

For instance, Dragons captain Cameron McInnes alerted the club that he would be playing for Cronulla in 2022 before the season had even kicked off.

Angus Crichton, during his Souths tenure, signed for his side’s most bitter of rivals a full year in advance. Fans were forced to cheer their star back-rower knowing he’d be representing the enemy next season.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 30: Angus Crichton of the Rabbitohs runs the ball during the round four AFL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on March 30, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, reports were published indicating that an off-contract Storm fullback’s agent had ‘put the feelers out’ in regards to potentially moving clubs in 2022.

That player is THE young gun I believe will kickstart a monster recruitment drive from multiple clubs. His name? Nicho Hynes.

There are bigger names off-contract, but for mine, young Hynes is the player who will most aggressively be chased by multiple clubs now that he has given hope for those sides outside of Melbourne.

At 24-years of age and capable of playing multiple key positions, Hynes shapes as the ultimate target for the likes of the Warriors, Sharks and Broncos.

Having shown an incredible ability to step in where required, often at the last minute for the Storm, Hynes has put himself in the shop window.

Despite his obvious talents he has been unable to lock down a regular starting spot in Melbourne. He has super potential but won’t be able to attract rep player money despite potentially being of that quality.

Simply put, he’s one of those future-altering players who will be available at value.

Although he has not said he will certainly leave the Storm, he did say he is looking for a way to become a starter whether that be in Victoria or elsewhere.

I would be absolutely shocked if the Warriors, given they’re about to lose marquee fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to the rugby, haven’t already reached out.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 25: Nicho Hynes of the Storm runs the ball during the round three NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Melbourne Storm at Panthers Stadium on March 25, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

They need a fullback and can offer Hynes a more than fair contract given they were willing to throw monster money at the talented youngster’s halves teammate Jahrome Hughes.

The Sharks are the other side I expect to be replying to that e-mail quick-smart.

They potentially have two positions in their spine open for 2022 given the contract status off both Will Kennedy and Matt Moylan/Shaun Johnson.

Coincidentally the two positions are those Hynes is most likely to fill should he make the move from the purple.

Watch ZT’s Dan Nichols discuss Nicho Hynes in the Storm/Panthers view via Rugby League Outlaws

Cronulla have literally millions of dollars of talent off-contract at the end of this season and look to be in a quick rebuild mode. They’ve already added Cam McInnes and have not been forced into rushed decisions for the likes of Woods, Johnson, Moylan and Dugan.

Not only could they potentially offer Hynes a regular gig at the one or six, but they too have plenty of cap space available. Plus the added bonus of offering Hynes a move up the highway rather than across the Tasman, should he wish to remain in Australia.

Brisbane, despite a brilliant performance this past weekend, hardly look settled on Jamayne Isaako as their long-term option in the custodian role.

For the record I believe they absolutely should, but they have multiple options within the squad as well as the opportunity to chase Hynes.

The Bulldogs are the other club I’d be surprised if they’re not somehow linked.

Given their awful start to the season I wouldn’t suggest anyone 1-7 is safe right now. Although they’ve seemingly promised the fullback role to both Corey Allan and Josh Addo-Carr, they could certainly offer Hynes a spot in the centres or at five-eighth, with Burton shifting to the seven.

The problem Melbourne face is where to play Hynes. He wasn’t even in the 17 until this past weekend. Although I expect him to become a specialist 14 when Harry Grant returns, he doesn’t look likely to upstage Papenhuyzen, Cameron Munster or Hughes.

Embed from Getty ImagesHynes looks the kind of player a side can build around, with additional benefitĀ  club’s won’t have to break the bank to recruit him.

As soon as that e-mail went out, it kickstarted a heavy recruitment drive. His comments only further fueled that. Brilliant from the youngster.

If the Storm aren’t willing to find a place for him sooner rather than later, I know of at least four clubs who look very capable of doing so.


  1. Would be perfect for the Sharkies

    Sharks should let Dugan (900k), Fifita (800k), Johnson (1mil), Moylan (900k) and Woods all leave to free up some money. Then go out and get Nicho Hynes, Braidon Burns, Tevita Funa, Jack De Belin and Josh Curran then prioritise resigning Toby Rudolf, Will Kennedy, Billy Magoulias and Talakai. After than spend wisely just getting some depth.

    1. Kennedy
    2. Katoa
    3. Burns
    4. Ramien
    5. Mulitalo
    6. Hynes
    7. Townsend
    8. De Belin
    9. Brailey
    10. Rudolf
    11. Nikora
    12. Graham
    13. Magoulias

    14. McInnes
    15. BHU
    16. Tolman
    17. Talakai

    Backs: Funa, Xerri?,
    Halves/Hooker: Tracey
    Forwards: Wilton, Williams, Curran, Hunt

    Big strong forward pack with some very skilled hardworking players. Which lay the platform for Brailey and McInnes to attack from dummy half and get the ball wide for the backs. Hynes and Kennedy have that X factor. That backline is young and insanely skilled. Should be very exciting. Off the bench have loads of size and should be able to continue battling through the middle.

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