Craig Bellamy is hoping that Nicho Hynes sticks with the Storm despite superstar Ryan Papenhuyzen blocking his path to being Melbourne’s regular fullback.
Hynes will wear the No.1 jersey against Cronulla at AAMI Park on Friday night with Papenhuyzen missing his second match with a shoulder injury.
It’s another chance for off-contract Hynes to show his value as a fullback, with a number of other NRL clubs sure to be paying close attention.
But Bellamy hopes the rangy 24-year-old will settle for being a star Storm utility and stay in Melbourne.
“He is off contract and we are very keen to keep hold of him but I imagine there will be a fair bit of interest in him,” Bellamy said.
“His pet position is fullback but he’s turned into a real good utility player for us and we’d love to keep hold of him.
“He’s part of our 17 – it’s hard there with Paps but some of the other games he’s played this year in different positions and different roles to what he’s used to, he’s done a tremendous job.”
Hynes played with Manly in the under 20s competition and appeared destined to jump straight into an NRL career before the Sea Eagles discarded him following an injury.
He ended up playing Queensland Cup in North Queensland and recently told of how he sunk into depression while there chasing his dream.
Hynes revealed his tough upbringing with his mother in and out of jail, and Bellamy said he was proud of how far he’d come since joining the Storm in 2018.
“He had a difficult upbringing at times and he’s had some difficult times with his mental wellbeing,” Bellamy said.
“I don’t know whether he’s 100 per cent out the other side but he’s done a tremendous job to get to where he’s got to with his own mental wellbeing but also as an NRL player.
“You’ve got to be proud and admire the way he’s got through what he’s been through.”