Sunday Territorian

Nicho’s family pledge

Hynes doing it for his Pa

- David Riccio

Nicho Hynes was only 12.

He stood up and looked out to the funeral gathering of his closest family, who were quietly dabbing tissues to their eyes.

Little Nicho took a deep breath, pushed away his own tears, before taking a vow that will be achieved in the City of Churches on Wednesday night.

“I remember when my father (Don) passed away, Nicho would’ve been 12,’’ Hynes’ father Mick said.

“His grandfathe­r was his favourite. ‘Pa’, who lived in Newcastle, would come and watch him play whenever he could.

“At the funeral, Nicho asked if I minded if he came up and made a speech.

“He stood there and said, when I run out for NSW in State of Origin one day, I’ll be looking up at the sky, looking at you Pa.

“He always had that dream. “I can’t believe it today, that he’s got there. I’m the proudest dad in Australia, I reckon.’’

The story of Hynes just keeps giving.

Fourteen years after his heartfelt pledge to his No.1 fan, the reigning Dally M Player of The Year has arrived on the stage of the most-watched sporting event in Australia.

The 26-year-old will make his debut for NSW against Queensland in the opening game of the much-anticipate­d State of Origin series at the Adelaide Oval.

“I remember saying exactly what Dad has explained,” Hynes said.

“You can bet I’ll be looking up at Pa when I run out. He was someone I loved having around me when I was growing up. He just loved watching me play.’’

The story of the NRL’s brightest shooting star is about to write another stunning chapter.

It’s a story of inspiratio­n that Mick just shakes his head at.

“He’s become so mentally tough,’’ Mick said.

“It’s unbelievab­le. It’s amazing how far he’s come.’’

Hynes’ proud father worked day and night as a glazier to put food on the table for his two boys (Nicho and older brother Wade), while their mother Julie battled her own demons, in and out of prison.

Hynes has spoken at length about the pain as a schoolboy of watching his mother be taken away by police.

It resulted in plenty of tears and questions, but Hynes holds no resentment towards his mother, who will watch her son from home in Sydney.

As painful as the story goes, Hynes tells it to provide hope to other young boys and girls that may be experienci­ng their own family issues.

As a boy, Hynes would eat hot dogs and ride every Origin match with his dad and Wade in the lounge room of their Woy Woy home.

Mick was with Hynes after the Sharks had beaten Newcastle, when his son broke the news to him that he had been chosen by NSW coach Brad Fittler to represent the Blues.

“It was pretty emotional, when Nicho told us he’d made the side,’’ Mick said.

“It was a great feeling.”

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