Gun shy Hindmarsh playing it cool - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gun shy Hindmarsh playing it cool

By Steve Jancetic 24/09/2009 12:31:59 PM Comments (0)

It's the Cinderella story that has captured the imagination of the NRL, but one of its chief protagonists - Parramatta veteran Nathan Hindmarsh - just can't bring himself to enjoy it.

The Eels are on the verge of the most remarkable run to an NRL premiership triumph, with Friday night's local derby with the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium all that stands between the blue and golds and a grand final berth.

From 150-1 shots to win the title midway through the season, the Eels have razzled and dazzled their way to nine wins from their last 10 matches to now be second favourites for the crown.

But Hindmarsh won't let himself enjoy the feeling - not yet.

"You want to let yourself be excited, but you can't because you know there's still a long way to go," Hindmarsh said.

"I'd love to be loving it more, but you can't."

And the reason is simple. Hindmarsh has been here many times before, and walked away empty handed.

Like in 1998 when as a rookie he was part of the Eels side which led 18-2 in a preliminary final against the Bulldogs with just 11 minutes remaining before going down to one of the greatest comebacks in finals history.

More preliminary finals followed for the Eels in 1999, 2000, 2005 and 2007, but again, all ended in disappointment.

Then there's the ultimate near miss, the 2001 season when the Eels were red-hot favourites only to go down in the decider to a Newcastle side inspired by Andrew Johns and Ben Kennedy.

"After being in one in 2001 and losing it, you just can't say 'Oh yeah, how good is this'. 2001 still does hurt.

"I'd love to be really pumped about it, but Friday night there's another game of footy.

"When we lost in 2001 I thought 'oh yeah, we'll have plenty of opportunities'.

"But you don't - you've got to be really lucky and have a really good team to just be involved in grand finals let alone win.

"Look at Melbourne, they've been in a few lately and only won one."

Oh what Hindmarsh would give to have just one as well.

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