How Nicho Hynes overcame his traumatic childhood to win the Dally M – as star pays heartfelt tribute to his mother after watching her sent to prison as a child
- Sharks halfback Nicho Hynes won the Dally M Medal in Sydney on Wednesday
- Hynes scored 38 votes after impressive debut season with Cronulla
- The 26-year-old thanked his mother – who has had countless problems in life
- Hynes has also previously opened up about his personal battles with mental health
Cronulla Sharks star Nicho Hynes won the Dally M Medal in record-breaking fashion on Wednesday night – and the halfback gained even more fans in rugby league circles after thanking his mother on stage.
Julie Hynes has endured many hardships in her life, including stints in prison when the NRL playmaker was a kid growing up on the NSW Central Coast in Umina.
But Hynes’ deep love for his mother remains, and she was also his date on Sydney’s glittering rugby league night.
Speaking on the Today show on Thursday mornings — after “less than a few hours of sleep” — Hynes reiterated how much he appreciates having her in his life.
“She means a lot… my whole family does,” the 26-year-old said.
‘Mommy is a big part of why I’m so lucky to have this [Dally M] Medal. “Like my father, brother and stepmother…I am very grateful for their continued support.”
Hynes shifted from the Storm to the Sharks in the off-season and was a revelation in the Shire.
In his first full campaign as an NRL halfback, Hynes led Cronulla to second on the ladder.
He also polled a record of 38 votes – the most of any player in the history of the medal.
Sydney Rooster fullback James Tedesco (33 votes) and Dragons halfback Ben Hunt (32 votes) also did well.
In May, Hynes opened up about the pain of seeing his mother taken to prison by the police when he was in grade school.
When Julie Hynes was locked up, she was stunned to discover the family’s indigenous heritage.
A beaming Hynes recalled telling his grade-school classmates the news—only to be labeled a liar.
“It was a special moment for me to say, ‘I’m Aboriginal,'” recalls Cronulla’s playmaker.
“But immediately they all said ‘bullshit, you’re not black’… it hurt so bad.”
Hynes endured a difficult childhood, with his parents splitting up when he was a toddler – then his stepfather died in a truck accident when he fell asleep at the wheel.
With Mrs. Hynes in and out of prison, Nicho lived with his father Mick Wilson and brother Wade.
It is an image that will probably never fade from his mind.
Julie Hynes is pictured with her two boys, Wade and Nicholas, when they lived on the NSW Central Coast
NRL star Nicho Hynes is the type of person who is always looking for a silver lining in life – and in his case it was his mother who discovered the family’s indigenous heritage when she was in prison
It resulted in many tears and questions, but Hynes bears no grudge against his mother.
And when she returned from another stint in prison, armed with news of the family roots, half of the Sharks were all ears.
‘Oother women [inside] taught mama about our heritage,” Hynes told the… Daily telegram.
‘I heard from my grandfather, a proud Aboriginal man.
“It was wonderful… Mother came home and spoke openly about our indigenous background for the first time.”
Hynes is proud of its Aboriginal heritage and equally happy to be a role model
Hynes joined Melbourne’s Cronulla in the off-season and led the Sharks to second on the ladder this year
He soon discovered that the family are tied to Griffith and the Wiradjuri people – the largest nation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.
Hynes wanted to shout the news from the rooftops, he was so proud of the Darkinjung and Mingaletta clans in the area – only to be shot again by his colleagues.
To this day, Hynes regrets not speaking out – and now, as an NRL footballer, he knows his voice will be heard.
‘Rugby league has given me a platform to go out and express who I am,” he said.
“We get to share who we are and pave the way for the next generation.”