Young NRL gun Nicho Hynes has opened up to hitting ‘rock bottom’ and fighting suicidal thoughts after finding himself broke, depressed, and alone in a strange town.
The 24-year-old, from the NSW Central Coast, started playing rugby league when he was five years old and the game was all he ‘thought about and dreamed of’.
He went on to fulfill his dreams when he debuted with the Melbourne Storm in 2019 – but his road to success was not without its obstacles.
The fifth-eighth sat down with ThNks. Collectively to tell how he coped with crippling depression as he struggled to come to terms with the tragic death of his stepfather as a child and a criminal mother who spent most of his childhood in and out of prison.
“I would never want to put someone through or put myself through it again,” he said.
Melbourne Storm’s Nicho Hynes (pictured with girlfriend Morgan) has opened up about his troubled upbringing
The fifth-eighth sat down with ThNks. Collective (pictured) to share his remarkable story from ‘humble beginnings’ on Umina Beach to a career with the NRL
A native of Gosford, Hynes said he didn’t leave the Central Coast until he was about 20 years old.
“My mom and dad broke up when I was very young, I think I was about two years old,” he said.
His mother began dating Brendan, a truck driver, and the family moved to Maitland – before tragedy struck.
Brendan fell asleep at the wheel and died.
“Obviously Mommy was pretty distraught and I had to go back and live with Dad and my stepmother,” Hynes said.
“My mother was in and out of jail when I was about five to twelve years old. I have had to live almost my entire life in primary school without a mother.”
Hynes said he was “very lucky” to be with someone to live with because he could have “easily gone the wrong way.”
“I wouldn’t be here today,” he said.
Hynes (recently pictured with his girlfriend) debuted with the Storm in August 2019
The 24-year-old thought back to his interview with ThNks. Collective about Matty Johns Face-to-Face and talked to his inner demons
Hynes also recalled the devastating moment when he saw his mother being taken away in a rice wagon.
He said it was a moment he would “never forget.”
“That still doesn’t change who my mom is, I’d do anything in the world for my mom,” he said.
‘That’s why I want to be a successful person and a successful rugby league player so that I can support her.
“You never forget where you come from.”
Despite impressing while playing for the Manly Sea Eagles in their under 20 roster, a horror hand injury caused Hynes to lose favor with NRL clubs and be relegated to playing with the Mackay Cutters in the Intrust Super Cup.
As he struggled to break into the NRL and deal with the breakup of a long-term relationship, his mental health deteriorated.
Hynes said it wasn’t until a low season, when he went home to visit his family, that he realized he had hit ‘rock bottom’.
Hynes (photo on the left with a friend) opened up about the dark moment when he contemplated suicide
‘I just clenched my eyes … all day I was just upset all day, crying, that day bloody suicidal thoughts popped into my head.
I don’t know if I went home and found something to do it, if I would have, but to sit here and look back on it – having suicidal thoughts in your head, that’s not okay. ‘
Hynes said he was encouraged by a rugby league teammate in Mackay to put his life in order, address his mental health concerns and evaluate what mattered most to him.
It was then that he got a job as a teacher’s assistant at a primary school for troubled children in Mackay, which helped change his whole outlook on life.
“That changed my life,” he said.
“They thought I was helping them, but they really helped me that year, they changed who I was.”
Despite the troubles growing up, Hynes always kept his eyes on the NRL
During all of this, Hynes said that one thing was always the same: his passion for rugby league.
‘I always had a goal, my dad had the goal and my brother had the goal for me to play in the NRL. We didn’t want to let go of that, ”he said.
The 24-year-old thought back to his interview with ThNks. Collective about Matty Johns Face-to-Face and talked to his inner demons.
“There were times when I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone,” he told Johns.
‘There was a moment when I thought’ I can’t do it anymore ‘. It’s gonna be really hard, but like I said before, it’s made me who I am. ‘
Hynes, who was part of the Melbourne premiership team last year, will continue to represent the Storm.
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