It was a bittersweet farewell to Parramatta club legends Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt in Round 26 last year. At ANZ Stadium in front of one of the biggest crowds they saw all year despite already having the wooden spoon sewn up, the Eels were playing only for pride. Unfortunately for them the ball didn’t bounce their way and the Dragons – themselves farewelling two departing club legends in Bren Hornby and Dean Young – ran out 29-8 winners.
The actual result meant little in terms of the ladder, with the Dragons already having dropped out of finals contention and the Eels no chance of avoiding the dreaded spoon. For Eels fans, the highlight was seeing club legend Nathan Hindmarsh calmly slot a penalty goal in the dying moments from wide out.
Earlier, the Dragons had got off to an ideal start with Dragons winger Bronx Goodwin scoring in the third minute, before they scored down the opposite wing through Brett Morris in the 25th. Jamie Soward’s wayward boot kept the Eels in it, missing both conversions and bringing it back to a two-point ball game when Luke Burt converted Ryan Morgan’s try on 30 minutes from out wide.
That was as close as the Eels got though, as the Dragons notched four unanswered tries in the second half. Prop Dan Hunt was the star for St George Illawarra, running 208 metres from 22 hit ups with six tackle-breaks and 21 tackles. In his last game, Hindmarsh still led the way for the Eels with a match-high 53 tackles as well as 94 metres from 12 carries. With Hayne’s season already having finished prematurely due to injury, livewire Eels fullback Jake Mullaney made 197 metres from 18 runs with a line-break and a try assist.