Young NRL gun Nicho Hynes has opened up about hitting ‘rock bottom’ and battling suicidal thoughts after finding himself broke, depressed and alone in a foreign 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 of and dreamt of’.
He went on to turn his dreams into a reality when he debuted with the Melbourne Storm in 2019 – but his road to success was not without its obstacles.
The five-eighth sat down with ThNks. Collective to share how he dealt with crippling depression as he struggled to process the tragic death of his stepfather as a child and a criminal mum who was in and out of jail for most of his childhood.
‘I would never wanna put anyone through or put myself through it again,’ he said.
Melbourne Storm’s Nicho Hynes (pictured with his girlfriend Morgan) has opened up on his tough upbringing
The five-eighth sat down with ThNks. Collective (pictured) to share his remarkable story from ‘humble beginnings’ at Umina Beach to a career in the NRL
Hynes, who was born in Gosford, said he didn’t leave the Central Coast until he was about 20 years old.
‘My mum and my dad split 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 behind the wheel and died.
‘Obviously mum was pretty distraught and I had to go back and live with the father and my step-mum,’ Hynes said.
‘My mum was in and out of jail from when I was about five to 12 years old, pretty much my whole primary school life I had to live without a mum.’
Hynes said he was ‘very fortunate’ to have someone to live with as he ‘easily could have gone down the wrong path’.
‘I wouldn’t be sitting here today,’ he said.
Hynes (pictured recently with his girlfriend) debuted with the Storm in August 2019
The 24-year-old reflected on his interview with ThNks. Collective on Matty Johns Face-to-Face and spoke to his inner-demons
Hynes also recalled the devastating moment he watched his mum being taken away in a paddy wagon.
He said it was a moment he would ‘never forget’.
‘That still doesn’t change who my mum is, I’d do anything in the world for my mum,’ he said.
‘That’s why I want to be a successful person and a successful rugby league player, so I can support her.
‘You never forget where you come from.’
Despite impressing while playing for the Manly Sea Eagles in their under 20s squad, a horror hand injury saw Hynes lose favour with NRL clubs and demoted to playing with the Mackay Cutters in the Intrust Super Cup.
As he struggled to break into the NRL and dealt with the breakdown of a long-term relationship, his mental health worsened.
Hynes said it wasn’t until one off-season when he went home to visit his family that he realised he had hit ‘rock bottom’.
Hynes (pictured left with a friend) opened up about the dark moment he considered committing suicide
‘I just balled my eyes out… throughout that day I was just upset all day, crying, that day, bloody suicidal thoughts came into my head.
I don’t know if I went home and found something to do it, whether I would have done it, but to sit here having to look back on it – having to get suicidal thoughts in your head, that’s not okay.’
Hynes said he was encouraged by a rugby league teammate in Mackay to sort his life out, tackle his mental health struggles head on and evaluate what was most important to him.
It was then that he landed a job as a teacher’s aide at a primary school for troubled kids in Mackay which helped him transform his entire outlook on life.
‘That changed my life,’ he said.
‘They thought that I was helping them, but really they helped me that year, they changed who I was.’
Despite the struggles growing up, Hynes always kept his sights on the NRL
Hynes said through it all, one thing always remained 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 weren’t going to let that go,’ he said.
The 24-year-old reflected on his interview with ThNks. Collective on Matty Johns Face-to-Face and spoke to his inner-demons.
‘There was times there where I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone,’ he told Johns.
‘There was a point where I was like ”I can’t do it anymore”. It gets really tough but like I said before, it’s made me who I am.’
Hynes, who was a part of Melbourne’s premiership team last year, continues to represent the Storm.
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‘We all share our personal triumphs in life, however we rarely see the daily struggles of reality behind the scenes,’ the website reads.
‘The ThNks brand will inspire our audience tell their true stories, and aim to create a positive impact in doing so.’