"There has got to be someone who gets the spoon every year" ... Nathan Hindmarsh. Photo: Anthony Johnson
THE chances of Parramatta picking up the wooden spoon have been very good for a long time, so when it was made official after yesterday's loss to South Sydney, they didn't react by curling up into the foetal position. It was hardly a shock.
Asked how it felt to be guaranteed finishing last - the nearest team above them, Penrith, are four points clear with one round to go after winning on the weekend - Eels captain Nathan Hindmarsh reacted as if he didn't know his team had taken possession of the dreaded utensil.
''Is it?'' he said. ''Oh well, spoon, heh. Stopped caring, mate. I shouldn't say that, you know, I go out and play footy, but I'm not worried about, you know, that's … it is what it is. Hopefully, the team bounces back next year. There has got to be someone who gets the spoon every year. Unfortunately for us it's this year, so we've just got to deal with it. It goes in the record books as coming last.''
Second-rower Hindmarsh and Eels winger Luke Burt will retire after next Sunday night's game against St George Illawarra at ANZ Stadium. Asked how important it was to him to at least finish his career with a win after the team's terrible season, Hindmarsh replied: ''It would be nice to finish it with a win. We're not going to turn up next week expecting to lose - we're going out there to do our best.
''Why can't we win? If we get it all right, and defend well, I think we're quite capable of winning games.''
Parramatta caretaker-coach Brad Arthur added: ''The boys definitely know how to play footy with the ball. When we move it around and we're nice and positive and execute OK, we know we can score plenty of points.''
Asked to sum up Parramatta's year, Arthur, who was Steve Kearney's assistant before taking control himself, replied: ''It's definitely been a tough year. If you try to take any positives out of the year, out of our last six games we've won three, so we've had 50 per cent there, whereas at the start of the year winning three out of 16 is pretty tough.
''I've enjoyed the experience and I've enjoyed working with the boys. I think Hindy and Burty deserve better next week. I'm sure the boys will go out there and try their best and hopefully come up with something a little better than what we dished up today.''
But the Dragons will also want to send a couple of retirees - Dean Young and Ben Hornby - out as winners.