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Nicho Hynes takes home inaugural Paul Green medal, makes heartfelt call for mental health awareness

Jarred Cross -

Cronulla Sharks half Nicho Hynes' efforts on Saturday night extended to delivering a short but salient message on receiving the latest piece of silverware added to the NRL calendar.

Hynes was dominant in his side's 44-6 win over North Queensland in Cronulla on Thursday night.

The Cowboys were unable to contain the Sharks outfit in attack, Hynes being the common denominator in much of scoreboard pressure laid on early and continued through the 80 minutes.

Just two minutes in warning bells rang early for Cowboys fans at home as the 26-year-old had opposition defenders stuck in the mud as he strolled towards the line largely untouched before handing off to Siosifa Talakai cross over on the left side.

Among dictating the home side's surge forward with the ball, Hynes slotted eight from nine shots at goal (seven conversions, two penalty goals) and had a try of his own with a simple put-down of a Cowboys error in the 60th minute.

Despite the score, it was a night for both sides.

Former Cronulla player and premiership-winning coach with North Queensland, Paul Green, was memorialised with the inaugural medal named in his honour presented to Hynes, judged best afield by the winning team's coach Craig Fitzgibbon per the new tradition.

Green took his own life in August last year.

After the match Hynes thanked Green's wife Amanda, and children Emerson and Jed, for being there to recognise a great of both clubs.

"It's an absolute honour to be able to receive this award for the first time," Hynes said.

"Paul Green is an integral part of this club, player number 290, and a special part of both clubs and holds a special place in our hearts... I know how much he means to everyone here."

Alongside taking home the top gong at last year's Dally M Medal count, Hynes was awarded the Provan-Summons Medal for outstanding acts of sportsmanship and courage for his mental health advocacy after Green's death.

"People commit suicide too much these days," he said in September.

"If I can play an important role in trying to change that and get people to speak up about what they're going through in their life I want to try to do my job and try to raise more awareness on that."

He left with a similar crucial message on Thursday night, six months on.

"Everyone makes sure we all check in on each other because you never know what's going on," he said.

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