The Cronulla Sharks have officially dumped Josh Dugan over a series of COVID-19 protocol breaches this season.
Nicho Hynes delivered another starring performance in Melbourne’s 48-4 win over Newcastle, making a case to stay at fullback when Ryan Papenhuyzen returns.
Hynes scored a try and set up three others in the eight-try romp at Cbus Super Stadium and kicked all conversions for a personal tally of 20 points.
Initially only an injury cover for star Ryan Papenhuyzen, Bellamy may find it hard to dislodge Hynes from fullback – rewarded for his stellar form with a call-up to the NSW squad as 18th man for Origin 3.
Papenhuyzen has been sidelined with concussion symptoms since Magic Round mid-May and has started some contact training.
Bellamy said Hynes, who will join Cronulla next season, had grown as a player to become an invaluable cog in the Storm machine.
“Nicho has just got better and better as the year has gone on,” Bellamy said.
“For him to come back after Origin with his head fully on … it was a big week for him.
“He didn’t get to play but to actually just be picked in the NSW squad was such a big thing for him.
“But his performance, especially in that first half, was outstanding.”
Bellamy said he hadn’t decided what he would do with Hynes when Papenhuyzen returned, with the latter challenging as the game’s best fullback before his sickening head knock.
Both players offer utility value off the bench.
“When Paps gets the OK to play and puts his hand up to play that’s when we will start making those decisions,” Bellamy said.
“I’d like to think he’s getting real close so we just need to give it more time.
Bellamy said that winger George Jennings, who scored two tries, had suffered a PCL injury while Dale Finucane is also likely to miss the clash with North Queensland next Friday after failing a HIA.