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Hindy to plug Eels' leaking defence

AFTER 15 years of carrying Parramatta's defensive line on his shoulders, Eels great Nathan Hindmarsh is poised to teach next season's squad the tricks of a tough trade as the club's new tackling coach.

Parramatta coach Ricky Stuart, who started his tenure at the Eels during the week, told The Sun-Herald he would speak to Hindmarsh about the role sometime this week but he would not elaborate on the details.

The recently retired Hindmarsh possessed the perfect resume´ to join Stuart's coaching staff, namely being the first NRL player to make more than 12,000 tackles. His career statistics also noted that the former back-rower was only the third NRL first-grader to chalk up 30,000 attacking metres.

He could have his work cut out carrying a coach's clipboard as the Eels leaked 674 points this season - the most by any club this year.

Hindmarsh gave an insight into what he would expect as a defensive coach at a farewell lunch when he explained that the reason why he chased tryline-bound opponents when there seemed no hope of him catching them was because he believed there was always the possibility the player could drop the ball, tear his hamstring or trip over.

''You just don't know what can happen in rugby league,'' he told the gathering.


It is expected the 33-year-old will join the impressive coaching staff Stuart has assembled which include former international Dean Pay, who will leave Melbourne Storm at the end of their season to be Stuart's assistant.

Hindmarsh said his farewell to the playing arena in front of 44,000 fans during the round 26 match against St George Illawarra at ANZ Stadium. The highlight of the match, which finished in a disappointing loss for Parramatta, was his successful shot at goal.

Before the coaching opportunity came along it was thought he had finished his 'lifetime' at Parramatta by being awarded his eighth Ken Thornett Medal as Parramatta's best player while he was also presented the Jack Gibson NRL coach's award.

It is understood, apart from the chance to join Stuart's staff, Hindmarsh was being pursued by television networks and businesses that were keen to discuss corporate opportunities.

Stuart told The Sun-Herald the aim of his first week at the club was to simply get to know the players for them to get to know him.

Meanwhile, Souths chief executive Shane Richardson told The Sun-Herald one of the Rabbitohs' great stalwarts, Michael Crocker, has had his efforts in what had been the club's best season since 1989 recognised by being offered a new deal. The back-rower has been in vintage form this year as one of the club's co-captains.