Hindmarsh set to join Eels' legends - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hindmarsh set to join Eels' legends

By Ian McCullough 17/07/2009 05:44:14 PM Comments (0)

With his builder's crack, badly-fitting shorts, great mane of hair, and lung-busting tackle counts, Nathan Hindmarsh has been one of the most recognisable players in the NRL.

He has also been one of the best, and on Monday night when he takes on Melbourne, he will join Parramatta legends Brett Kenny and Ray Price as one of only three players to play 250 games for the Eels.

It is a landmark the 29-year-old from Robertson, near Bowral, NSW, admitted he never contemplated reaching when he trotted out for his debut against the ill-fated Adelaide Rams at Parkes in 1998.

"It is good to be alongside them blokes, two Parramatta legends who brought the club to where they are now, but to be honest I never imagined I would reach this milestone when I started out," Hindmarsh said.

"I have been pretty fortunate that injuries have let me play so many games the body has held up well enough and fortunately I have been playing decent footy to last this long in NRL."

Hindmarsh rates former Brisbane prop Shane Webcke and Penrith and Queensland enforcer Petero Civoniceva as the two toughest opponents he has faced in an 11-year career, that includes 16 appearances for NSW and 18 caps for Australia, including a World Cup victory in 2000.

However, it is the 2001 grand final which ranks as his best and worst moment, when a well-fancied Eels team chose the biggest stage to play their worst game of an NRL season they had dominated, against an Andrew Johns-inspired Newcastle.

It is the closest the blue and gold have come to breaking a premiership drought stretching back to 1986 and Hindmarsh said the desire to be around to try to make it finally happen was the main reason he turned his back on a lucrative offer from England earlier this year.

"The World Cup in 2000 was a real highlight for me but being part of the build up and to play in a grand final was the best moment," he said.

"The outcome wasn't the best and if I am being honest I probably thought at the time I would get the chance again soon but it hasn't happened.

"But if I hadn't been in one and lost, my desire wouldn't be so great, all I want to do is win a grand final at Parramatta and that was probably one of the main reasons I stayed."

Along with his mother, Hindmarsh said former Eels mentor Brian Smith had been the biggest influence on his career.

"It was my mum who used to kick me in the arse and send me back to Sydney when I didn't want to train, but it was Brian Smith who turned me into a footballer," he said.

"He has been a massive influence on me, not only in football but life in general."

Ironically, Smith revealed Hindmarsh was almost shown the door before he'd even played first grade.

"We had a meeting about him and a few of the coaches felt he wasn't fulfilling his potential," Smith told AAP.

"We had a long chat about what we should do about him, and we decided eventually it wouldn't help to move him down the grades so we'd put him in reserve grade and he just killed it.

"We realised then that he was something special and the higher level he played, the better he played.

"He's always played with a fear of letting the team down and not doing his job properly, and that edge is what has made him one of the most selfless players I have worked with and definitely one of the best."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news