NRL 2022: State of Origin, NSW Blues, Nicho Hynes, Matt Burton

Blues center Matt Burton shrugged off concerns about his fitness for Origin III after sitting out training on Wednesday, but NSW manager Brad Fittler could consider bringing a new player to the squad after Nicho Hynes has tested positive for COVID.

Hynes was briefly in the NSW camp on Monday but did not travel with the team to Kingscliff as he was due to play for Cronulla in Thursday night’s game against the Storm, but a positive PCR test on Wednesday ruled him out.

Blues officials said the other 21 players returned negative RAT tests.

The Sharks playmaker was the 18th man in Perth and was due to join the Blues side on Friday but will now be quarantined in Sydney. His Sharks teammate Toby Rudolf also tested positive.

NSW officials said Hynes was only with the team from 3pm to 5pm on Monday at an airport hotel and all players and staff were RAT tested twice a day, all results being negative.



Hynes was the 18th man in Perth and was due to join the Blues side on Friday
©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos


NSW officials said Hynes was only with the team from 3pm to 5pm on Monday at an airport hotel and all players and staff were RAT tested twice a day, all results being negative.

It’s unclear at this point if Fittler will want to add another player to the squad, but he doesn’t have a halfback in the squad should anything happen to Nathan Cleary ahead of Wednesday night’s series decider. next at Suncorp Stadium.

Jack Wighton was named as the 18th man, while Burton could also fill in as a five-eighth if needed, with Jarome Luai moving to full-back.

However, Fittler could turn to Mitchell Moses of Parramatta, who replaced Cleary in the last game of last year, if he feels the need for a specialist halfback in the 22-man squad.


Wighton, who was NSW's best player in Origin I, trained at center left

Wighton, who was NSW’s best player in Origin I, trained at center left
©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos


Meanwhile, Burton is set to train with the Blues on Thursday after Fittler and his coaching staff decided not to take any risks with a minor calf injury hampering the Bulldogs star.

Wighton trained in place of Burton at centre-left, where he played in the opening series of the 16-10 defeat at the Accor Stadium before being dropped from Origin II due to COVID.

Burton, who retained his place ahead of Wighton after making his Perth debut, insisted he was fine but NSW staff felt it was best for him to be spared the heavy ground at Cudgen following a steady rain in northern NSW since the end of last week.

“It’s obviously a bit slippery out there so we didn’t think it was worth the risk today, but I’ll be happy to go tomorrow,” Burton said. “It’s a long week so I didn’t want to take any chances.”

The Blues flew to Kingscliff on Monday night to escape bad weather in Sydney, but conditions were little better in Lismore on Tuesday, where the team trained barefoot on a muddy Oakes Oval, or Cudgen.



Burton tells us about his debut with Origin

The team were originally due to train at Burger Fields in Kingscliff, but the ground was in poor condition after hosting home games in wet conditions.

However, New South Wales officials may have to find another training ground if the rain continues as the Cudgen Leagues Club ground was heavily waterlogged on Wednesday.

About John Crowder

Check Also

Balaklava Blues raises C$500,000 for Ukraine

Balaklava Blues, a Ukrainian-Canadian folk-black band, raised C$500,000 for Ukraine through concerts and charity events. …