NSW State of Origin duo look UNRECOGNISABLE in incredible throwback photos… as pair look to roll back the years and wreak havoc on Queensland again

  • Throwback snaps of Origin stars have emerged
  • The NSW pair were ‘untouchable’ in touch footy 
  • They will hope to combine again to beat Queensland 

New South Wales will field a new halves partnership in the first Origin game of this year’s series, after the Blues were rocked by Nathan Cleary’s injury setback.

But fans concerned about any teething issues between the pair have nothing to fear, with Nicho Hynes and Jarome Luai forming an ‘untouchable’ partnership in their formative years.

Sharks star Hynes and Penrith half Luai enjoyed incredible success together in their high school touch football days, with the duo wreaking havoc on Queensland in rep games.

The pair played in a team stacked with youngsters who would go on to play in the top grade, with Hynes and Luai recognised as two of the best backs in the NRL today.

New unseen photos of the pair from their younger years have emerged. Hynes played for Peninsula Junior Touch football, and looked carefree many years before picking up the Dally M medal in 2022.

This halfback will hope to wreak havoc on Queensland in this year’s Origin series

He will partner up with a Penrith superstar to take on the Maroons

He will partner up with a Penrith superstar to take on the Maroons

Luai can be seen wearing his trademark wide grin and has significantly bulked up since his teenage years. 

‘Jarome and I have played touch footy for NSW back in the day when we were in high school so we’ve known each other for a long time,’ Hynes said. 

‘I was 15 and he might have been 14. We actually beat Queensland in the grand final in that touch game so hopefully we can do the same thing.

‘It’s good to rekindle that relationship because we haven’t combined on the field properly for a long time so I’m looking forward to that.

‘I reckon we can keep building our relationship off the field and it’ll transition on the field. He’s a great person and he’s got plenty of energy. I feel like I’ve got a bit of energy as well so hopefully we can build on that.’

New NSW coach Michael Maguire has been tasked with ending Queensland’s two-year reign as Origin champions and he has placed his faith in Hynes and Luai to be the partnership that unlocks the stubborn Maroons’ defence.

Luai will play in the halves next Wednesday

Hynes is looking to impress in Sydney

Jarome Luai (left) and Nicho Hynes (right) have a lot of chemistry from their junior days

‘We represented NSW at all schools level in our touch days so we’ve had some connection in the past so it’s pretty cool to see where we are now on the biggest stage in our game,’ Luai said.

‘I’m pretty excited to rekindle what we had back then, but whatever happens, we’ll take it one day at a time.

‘We were untouchable back in those days.

‘We had a gun touch side with guys like Matt Dufty, Jackson Hastings and Bevan French. I was easily (the slowest in that team) but it’s pretty cool to reminisce on those days.’

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