He has already reached 10,000 tackles and played his 300th first grade game this season – now Parramatta captain Nathan Hindmarsh is on the verge of yet another milestone as he approaches 30,000 career run metres.
Renowned for his phenomenal work ethic, Hindmarsh needs another 124 metres to become only the fourth player in NRL history to reach the rare milestone which tops off a remarkable year of personal achievements for the veteran back-rower.
Unaware of his latest accomplishment when contacted by NRL.com, Hindmarsh said it was a statistic that he would likely look back on more favourably once his 14-season career finally comes to an end in the coming years.
“30,000 career running metres? Geez, just imagine if I had carried the ball for the past four years I would have passed that easily,” the 31-year-old quipped.
“At the moment they are stats that… sure a little light goes off in your head and you think ‘oh that’s nice’, but it’s just a stat. I think that when I look back on my career when I’ve retired I’ll think, ‘that’s not too bad, I’m happy with that’.
“They’re all great milestones but I’ve always been the type of bloke that has gone, ‘that’s that, now let’s get on with the next game’. I’ll sit and reflect later on.”
Hindmarsh will become just the fourth player in recorded statistics history to surpass 30,000 career running metres, behind Petero Civoniceva (35,431), Luke Patten (33,134) and Steve Price (31,600).
Incredibly, that group will almost certainly be joined by two more players later this year with both Anthony Minichiello (29,685) and Rhys Wesser (29,560) closing in.
Despite his latest milestone, Hindmarsh lamented the loss of his once devastating attacking game that has seen his average run metres drop from a career-high 125.24 metres per game in 2004 to 91.32 in 2011 (which is up from last year’s 85.39).
“You know, I would have loved to have done more,” he said. “I think my attacking game has suffered with the amount of defence that I’ve done but that happens – that’s just the type of player I’ve turned into.
“I’m getting on a bit as well so the leg speed and the footwork aren’t what they used to be but I know definitely now that my attacking game… it could improve, I think. My strong points at this stage of my career are my defence – being able to do the numbers in ‘D’ and try and help out when I can. I guess I just concentrate on those things.
“When I do carry the ball, they don’t look to me to do something. It’s all about just laying a line and getting us into a position we need to get into. But I just try and carry the ball when I can and support our big boys.”
However, still hurting from Monday night’s devastating 22-18 loss to Melbourne after leading 18-0 midway through the second half, Hindmarsh said his immediate focus was ensuring that Parramatta didn’t drop off over the final rounds following a series of near misses in recent weeks.
Despite being out of finals contention and in a battle to avoid the wooden spoon, Hindmarsh has been impressed with the efforts of an inexperienced Eels outfit that has faced more than their fair share of adversity in 2011.
“The good thing is that we’re competing,” he said. “It’s not as if we’re going out there and not turning up. Everyone is going out there and having a dig and we’re playing some decent football in patches.
“This year and last year have obviously been dry years compared to what we did in 2009 but we’re building something. I think we’ve got a great culture going at the moment. I think [Justin] Horo is showing some good signs and young Pat O’Hanlon as well, so I think there will be better times ahead.
“When you look ahead, I think a guy like Chris Sandow is going to add a lot of spark to the side next year He is a very zippy and energetic player. Ben Roberts as well is very similar. So I think things are starting to fall into place for us.”
Asked if it was getting harder to motivate his troops in the wake of consecutive golden-point losses and Monday night’s second-half capitulation, Hindmarsh said: “I haven’t had to do that. I think my job this year – things are a lot easier when you’re winning but it hasn’t been a hard job to motivate these blokes. They don’t need any motivation.
“They’ve all been really positive, really focused on the next week. We’re already focused on how we’re going to play Souths on Monday night, so nobody has dropped off in intensity at all.”
Nathan Hindmarsh Career Statistics
Avg Runs: 13.2
Avg Metres: 98.9
Avg Tackles: 36.3
Career-best Runs: 26 (v Roosters, 2006)
Career-best Metres: 252 (v Dragons 2001)