Hindmarsh says 2011 one tough season - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hindmarsh says 2011 one tough season

Melissa Woods 09/04/2011 04:20:50 PM Comments (0)

When Parramatta skipper Nathan Hindmarsh says the 2011 NRL pre-season is the toughest he's ever encountered, it means something.

After all, the veteran has completed 14 in succession.

New Eels coach Stephen Kearney has prepared his side to take on the Storm on Sunday, his first match against the club where he served a coaching apprenticeship for five years under Melbourne mentor Craig Bellamy.

Hindmarsh says he's unsure of how much of Melbourne's structure and style Kearney has brought to the Eels but he's clear on one thing - Kearney adopted the brutal pre-season training regime that Bellamy is famous for.

"It was the hardest one I've been involved in. The boys found it very hard," said Hindmarsh, who last season became the most capped Eel of all time.

"Hopefully we'll see the effects of the hard pre-season this year when we're under the pump a bit in games, we can get out through the other end with this fitness."

Hindmarsh, 31, said he believed it helped the Eels hold on for their two-point win over the Cowboys last round, which gave his side a big confidence boost.

"In the past, we can falter in those games because our fitness levels aren't what they need to be so obviously, being a fitter team this year, that did help us last Saturday night."

Parramatta have studied the Storm's crushing win over the previously unbeaten Bulldogs last Monday night and Hindmarsh said he was impressed but not surprised.

"In that game, they looked back to their best, even without players like Greg Inglis and Brett White and those type of players who had to move on.

"It was always thought that they could still produce that kind of form, it was just a question about how some of those younger blokes and how they were going to go but they've handled it really well."

The duel between star fullbacks Billy Slater and Jarryd Hayne is always a highlight when the two teams meet, with Hayne this week saying he had a point to prove to Australian selectors when he faced the top-rated custodian.

"He (Slater) looks like he's back in great form," Hindmarsh said.

"A lot of the play comes off and around him but in saying that it's still hard to mark a bloke like Billy Slater because he's such a talent."

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