“I’d love to play five-eighth for NSW. Jarome is the incumbent, he’s been there and done it. If Freddy [coach Brad Fittler] went with him, I’d understand. But I’ll definitely put my hand up to play Origin – and I’ll be going for it.
“At the [very] least, I’d like to be on the bench or in the squad, but I’d love to wear the No.6.”
Cleary and Luai have won two premierships at Penrith together, with Luai telling the Herald at the start of the week: “He’s always killed it any time he chucks a jersey on. But it’s not my job as a selector to pick the team. I can just do my job for Penrith, and that’s win games.”
Hynes, 26, said Queensland had enjoyed success without relying on a club halves combination. The Maroons are all but certain to retain Melbourne’s Cameron Munster and Manly’s Daly Cherry-Evans as their playmakers.
“I can’t see why NSW can’t have a non-club [halves] combo,” Hynes said. “That’s not saying Jarome isn’t good enough. He is good enough, he’s done it before, I love Jarome and I love Nathan, and I’ve got along well with them in camps.
“But I’d be silly not to say I want the No.6 jersey – I’d be silly not to fight for it. I’d love to put my hand up for it.”
Hynes is regarded as one of the nicest men in the game, but made it clear he loathed the northern neighbours during Origin.
“I hate Queensland; Queensland is the only thing I hate in life when Origin time is on,” Hynes said. “It’s a good state for its beaches, but at Origin time I hate it.”
NSW skipper James Tedesco was given a refresher on how lethal Hynes is at PointsBet Stadium on Friday.
“He’s a great instinctive player,” Tedesco, who has laid claim to being rugby league’s best over the past five years, said of Hynes. “Fitzy has done a good job with letting him play his own footy and getting his hands on the ball as much as possible. When you do that, he’ll create a lot of opportunities.
“He made a couple of errors [on Friday night], but he flushed it and came up with some big plays at the end of the game. And that’s the sign of a really good player.”
The No.14 jersey would be a perfect fit for Hynes, given his ability to play anywhere in the back line. If Fittler started Hynes at five-eighth, he still has the luxury of using Jack Wighton as a utility option. Hynes played with Wighton and Latrell Mitchell with the Indigenous All Stars.
Hynes, rated the game’s best player by Munster just last month, told the Herald at the start of the year he was eager to play for the Blues after being 18th man the past four games.