The chase for the signature of Nicho Hynes has been won with the Cronulla Sharks securing the services of the Melbourne Storm utility for three year from 2022.
The chase for the 24-year-olds signature had become frenzied over recent weeks as he continued to tally up impressive performances, with a handful of clubs chasing him.
However, the Central Coast native will return to New South Wales with the dream of becoming a fully-fledged starter.
What can Sharks fans expect from their new recruit?
Hynes has had to work hard to secure his NRL career, he joined the Storm on a train and trial contract in 2019 and took his opportunity with both hands.
After one game in 2019, Hynes managed a further 11 games in 2020, which included the premiership.
In 2021, he has starred while the Storm have had injuries to key personnel.
Hynes has started seven of his 10 appearances this season, predominantly at fullback.
In those seven starts Hynes has proven he is a formidable playmaker with his speed and strength on show.
He has racked up 12 try assists, nine linebreaks, 35 tackle breaks and an average of 173 running metres per game during that time, stamping himself as one of the best young prospects in the competition.
While Hynes’ on field abilities have shone through in recent weeks his outstanding character has been evident since he walked through the door according to Storm General Manager of Football Frank Ponissi.
“He has worked hard and has got the rewards,” he said.
“Nicho is an outstanding footballer, but just as importantly is an outstanding young man who is loved and respected by everyone at Storm.”
Hynes’ move to the Sharks has come with a promise of assuming a position in the halves and complementing a young up and coming spine with fullback Will Kennedy, halfback Chad Townsend and hooker Blayke Brailey.
Hynes admitted this was a tough decision, but the allure of a starting role proved too much.
“I love the Melbourne Storm and deciding to leave was one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make in my life,” he said.
“Storm has made me who I am not only on the field but off the field as well.
“All the coaches and players have not only been great supporters of my rugby league career, but also the journey I’m on in my life.”
Despite the impending move Hynes continues to be a pivotal cog in the Storm’s premiership defence.
With Cameron Munster and Harry Grant unavailable due to State of Origin selection and Ryan Papenhuyzen still working his way back from a nasty head knock, Hynes’ good form will need to continue.
“With this decision now behind me, I’m fully focussed on the rest of the season with Melbourne and hopefully looking towards challenging for another premiership,” he said.