Sharks star Nicho Hynes reveals the trauma of watching his mum being put in a paddy wagon and taken to jail – where she learned about their family’s proud Aboriginal heritage
- NRL star Nicho Hynes, 25, discovered his Aboriginal heritage at a young age
- Halfback found out in unusual fashion – inmate told his mum when she was in jail
- Hynes told schoolmates, who questioned the news given his white appearance
- Now the Cronulla Sharks playmaker wants to be a long term-Indigenous mentor
Cronulla Sharks halfback Nicho Hynes has opened up about the pain of watching his mother Julie being taken to jail by police when he was in primary school.
The 25-year-old is the type of person who always looks for a silver lining in life – and in his mother’s case, it was discovering while behind bars the Indigenous heritage of her family.
A beaming Hynes then told his primary school classmates at Umina on the NSW central coast his news – only to be branded a liar.
NRL star Nicho Hynes is the type of person who always looks for a silver lining in life – and in his case, it was his mum discovering the family’s Indigenous heritage when she was in jail
‘It was a special moment for me to say, ‘I’m Aboriginal’,’ the Cronulla playmaker recalled.
‘But straight away, they all said “bullshit, you aren’t black” […] it hurt like hell.’
Hynes endured a testing childhood, with his parents splitting when was a toddler – and then his stepfather died in a truck accident.
Julie Hynes is pictured here with her two boys, Wade and Nicholas
With Ms Hynes often in and out of jail, Nicho lived with his father Mick Wilson and older brother Wade.
Seeing officers place his mother in the back of a paddy wagon as a youngster is an image unlikely to ever leave his headspace.
It resulted in plenty of tears and questions, but Hynes holds no resentment towards his mother.
And when she returned from a stint in prison armed with news of the family roots, the Sharks half was all ears.
Hynes is proud of his Aboriginal heritage ahead of Indigenous Round in the NRL and is happy to be a role model
‘Other women [inside] taught Mum about our heritage,’ Hynes told the Daily Telegraph.
‘I learned of my grandfather, a proud Aboriginal man.
‘It was great […] Mum came home and openly spoke about our Indigenous background for the first time.’
He soon discovered the family are tied to Griffith and the Wiradjuri people – the largest nation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.
Hynes joined Cronulla from Melbourne in the off-season and has been arguably the best recruit in the NRL to date this season (pictured, after kicking a conversion to beat the Eels in March)
Hynes wanted to scream the news from the rooftops, such was his pride of the Darkinjung and Mingaletta clans in the area – only to be again shot down by his peers.
To this day, Hynes regrets not speaking up – 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,’ Hynes said.
‘We get to share who we are […] and pave the way for the next generation.’
The Sharks halfback is grateful rugby league has given him a platform to express himself
Many athletes also bristle at the term role model – but not Hynes.
He would love to start a foundation for the underprivileged and mentor youth to ensure they go down the right paths in life.
If he can help one child, it will be ‘job done’ in Hynes’ eyes.