Another contentious player within our Facebook group is young Nico Hynes, recently transferred from elite side the Melbourne Storm to predicted 12th placed finishers the Cronulla Sharks. There are frankly a lot of unknowns in this argument, with Hynes playing in a (fairly) new position for a new team with a new coach next to a new halves partner.
The case against Hynes is obvious and straight forward: Hynes will either partner Braydon Trindall, Matt Moylan or Luke Metcalf in 2022, all of which represent very different propositions in terms of the requirement of Hynes involvement and none of which he has played with before. Add to this, Hynes is coming from a team that just set the record for points in a season, and moving to a team that is likely going to struggle to avoid the bottom 4. At the Melbourne Storm, names like Munster, Hughes, Smith, Grant, Papenhuyzen dominate the minds of the opposition defenders, and Hynes was able to play the 4th or 5th fiddle in most cases and captalise on the gaps that the talent around him created. The reality is, like many before him, Hynes has the chance to be a Jordan McLean or a Tohu Harris, we just don’t know which one until we see it.
Add to this, the already expensive nature of the price point for Hynes at $602K with a break even of 48, coming off a stellar season where he averaged 48.3 playing mostly at Fullback in cover for Ryan Papenhuzyen who spent the bulk of the year injured with concussion.
Rather than use my own words, here is what a group member said about Hynes, which I feel reflects the sentiment of the Anti-Hynes argument:
“My thoughts on Hynes are, if you look at it as a really basically, you say, well ‘start of 2021 Chad’ = ‘start of 2022 Hynes’. All the same things apply: GKing, KMs – esp if with Moylan at 6, if Trindall is there, its likely worse. Spine is the same otherwise. Side is very similar too. Chad peaked at 668K in Rd7. Hynes starts at 602K, and KMs are worth less so…. 66K value? Thats closer to a third of what you want .Now, you could argue Hynes will likely have a ball playing lock too. Is that a benefit? Maybe. Enough to make up the KMs loss? Will Hynes play both sides? Be a real 1st reciever? I havent looked at schedule, but I dont think Sharks are good enough that this should be a massive factor.”
For me, Hynes could not be more different to Chad Townsend and I could not use him as a starting point for building my analysis. I prefer to build my projections from scratch. As a result, I would choose to approach the situation by looking at Hynes starts last year in the halves and determining where, if anywhere, I would expect a variance to them moving across to Cronulla:
|TRIES||30%||30%||2.5||AVG FOR HALF|
|T/SAVE||0||10%||0.5||AVG FOR HALF|
|GOAL||2PG||2.5PG||5.0||AVG GOAL KICK|
|T/ASST||33%||50%||2.5||AVG HLF IS 54%|
|LB||67%||33%||1.5||AVG HLF IS 25%|
|LBA||133%||50%||1||AVG HLF IS 45%|
|TACKLE||12.3||17||17||AVG HLF IS 18.5|
|MISS TKL||2||3||-6||AVG HLF IS 3|
|TACKLE BUST||2.3||2.3||4.5||AVG HLF IS 1.7|
|RUN MTRS||155||100||10||AVG HLF IS 70|
|OFFLOAD||1.3||1.3||4||AVG HLF IS 0.55|
|ERROR||67%||1||-2||AVG HLF IS 85%|
|PENALTY||0||0.5||-1||AVG HLF IS 50%|
|T/O TKL||0||25%||1||AVG HLF IS 50%|
|TOTALS (APPROX)||45||NON KICK MTR BASE|
There is no arguing against the fact that Hynes is a running, tackle busting, offloading style player, so we do need to apply extra attacking stats in this area. He is also going to be playing in a bad team, which means more tackling, but we still list him as a “below average” halves tackler. I have also allowed for a higher error rate than normal, due to him being asked to control more of the attack in an ultimately worse team. Ultimately all we can do is guess at this stuff, but I don’t think we would disagree with much of this.
Now this is the part where it gets interesting, the kick metres are yet to be added. For the purposes of this exercise, lets call Moylan “Scenario 1” and Trindall/Metcalf “Scenario 2”.
In full games, Trindall kicked for about 270 metres per game, where an average half kicks for 215 metres per game, making Trindall an “above average” kicker. His range on these numbers are 100 metres up to 488 metres, so he is capable of any totals needed. Hynes on the other hand only kicked for about 60 metres per game, with a high of 82, meaning he has rarely been asked to handle much of the in game kicking duties. Likewise to Hynes, Moylan actually has a career halves kick metres average of about 50 kick metres, with a ceiling of 108 kick metres in the period Hynes has been in the NRL. In 2021, Moylan averaged only 13 kick metres per game.
In the event that there is a partnership with Moylan, I would expect a 65% kicking share for Hynes, with the balance being taken up by assorted other players, mostly Graham and Moylan. In the event that it is Trindall or Metcalf, I would expect closer to 25%, with the balance being taken up by Trindall and Graham.
In a normal game there is (lets say round numbers) 500 kick metres per team on average. We have seen this as high as 1000 in a game, and as low as under 200, so lets just stick to “average” for now. When you add in the points for kick metres, you get the below:
|KICK METRES||POINTS||TOTAL AVG|
Essentially, what we are seeing here is the easy decision making process on Hynes. If Moylan is the halves partner and you believe in Hynes, you can pull the trigger. If it is Metcalf or Trindall, you are safe to look elsewhere knowing Hynes will likely retain value without gaining much from his starting break even of 48. On the other side of that same coin, worst case in scenario 2 Hynes represents a steady dual WFB/HLF option with virtually 0 chance at State of Origin representation who likely becomes your 18th man in the back end saving you a vital trade.
The elephant in the room here is the extensive injury history of Moylan, whose longest consecutive stretch of games since 2018 is 7 matches. Moylan is also on a 1 year deal, where Trindall has re-signed and Metcalf is out the door. It may be that Moylan starts the year before the eventual break down through injury, where Trindall is the likely successor who comes in to kill the value of Hynes as a top end WFB option.
Ultimately, there is an element of “gut feel” here in terms of what you believe about Hynes and the Sharks under new coach Craig Fitzgibbon. Their schedule is “middle of the road” in terms of toughness, so that can’t really come into consideration either. I don’t think there is any sort of disaster scenario here where Hynes ends up averaging in the low 40s, but he is no guarantee to be a keeper this year either. This decision is unlikely to be one that makes or breaks your season so I will leave you with this advice, which is my attitude towards Hynes after writing this article:
If you can fit him in, that’s great, but he is not a must have piece for your round 1 team.