In a week of unprecedented tragedy in rugby league, a tale has emerged to warm the hearts of shell-shocked rugby league fans.
Paul Green’s death stunned the league world – and has brought to the forefront of attention the insidious black dog.
No player – or young to middle aged person – is immune to the illness, even rugby league’s latest rock star, Nicho Hynes.
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Hynes is rugby league’s coolest cat in 2022 – movie star looks, amazing talent and the class to come up with the big plays.
But it wasn’t always like that for the superstar 26-year-old. While an unknown youngster trying to make a name for himself in the big league just four years ago, Hynes suffered lack of self confidence and bouts of self doubt while also working as a teacher’s aide at a Mackay primary school in north Queensland.
“It’s hard to believe now, but Nicho did have a few mental health issues early on,” said Storm boss Frank Ponissi, who was instrumental in bringing the utility back to Melbourne.
Enter Aaron Booth, a carefree, happy-go-lucky youngster the same again as Hynes, also playing in Mackay who became Hynes’ flatmate.
“Aaron was great for him and the two have a special bond,” Ponissi said.
The pair moved to the Storm together and became best buddies, before going their separate ways this year – Hynes to the Sharks and Booth to the Titans.
Nicho Hynes, with “AB” on his wristband, tries to tackle Mathew Feagai. (Getty)
So when Booth suffered a serious season-ending knee injury two weeks ago, Hynes wrote the letters ‘AB’ on his wristband as a tribute to his buddy last weekend against the Dragons.
In words that now send a chill down the spine, Hynes said after the win over the Dragons “‘AB’ just about saved my life… that’s why I wore his name on my wristband.”
The Hynes situation highlights the Black Dog dilemma in modern society – and shows how important it is that all men reach out for help when they feel the need.
If you or anyone you know needs immediate support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or via lifeline.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.
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