Date: August 24 2012
Retiring Eels' great Nathan Hindmarsh has played at Parramatta Stadium for the final time - he just wishes he knew it at the time.
The Eels' round-26 home game against St George Illawarra was yesterday shifted to the far bigger ANZ Stadium - the move designed to help cater for a crowd in excess of 40,000 to farewell more than 1000 games of NRL experience.
Along with Hindmarsh, teammate Luke Burt will also play for the final time, as will Dragons' pair Ben Hornby and Dean Young.
But while Hindmarsh understands the reasons behind the move - with Parramatta Stadium having already been sold out - he admitted to an empty feeling knowing he had already made his final walk up his home tunnel.
''For me, it would've been nice to have known a few weeks ago, knowing that the Roosters game was going to be our last home game at Parramatta Stadium,'' Hindmarsh said.
''There's a bit of an empty feeling there that myself and Burty, we can't go out at Parramatta Stadium the way we would've liked to have gone out.''
Asked if he was consulted about the move, Hindmarsh said: ''About an hour or two before [the final decision].
''I don't think we were going to sway the vote, to be honest.''
The match was only moved following the intervention of the NSW government, with Minister for Sport and former NRL referee and administrator Graham Annesley helping facilitate the move.
He labelled the move a win for the game, but there has already been some grumblings from Eels' fans not happy at giving up a home game.
''I always expected there would be a reaction from people who already had their tickets, but the fact is this a great outcome for the game,'' Annesley said.
''It's going to give all fans from both clubs an opportunity to be there and give these great stalwarts, one-club players who have given their careers to these clubs, the best possible send-off.''
Hindmarsh admitted to being a little selfish in wanting more than 50,000 there for his farewell, and was confident the Eels' fans would outnumber those of the red and white variety.
''I'm going to make a call out to all Parramatta fans to get out there,'' Hindmarsh said.
''When Burty and I run out of the tunnel, we want to see blue and gold. We don't want to see red and white.
''It's our home game so we're going to treat it like our home game.
''Speaking for Burty and myself, we'd like a really massive send-off. It sounds a bit selfish but that's what we're looking for.'' AAP
This material is subject to copyright and any unauthorised use, copying or mirroring is prohibited.
[ Canberra Times | Text-only index]