Hindmarsh recalls Eels' 2006 coaching upheaval
The coaching upheaval at the Penrith Panthers in the lead up to their round 22 clash with the Titans brought back some memories for Parramatta Eels legend Nathan Hindmarsh.
Hindmarsh was a central figure at the Eels when Brian Smith left the club midway through to the 2006 season.
The 330-game veteran said while former Penrith coach Anthony Griffin and Smith both left their respective clubs mid-season, there were differences in the reasoning behind the departures.
"I remember Brian Smith leaving the Eels midway through the 2006 season. He'd been at the club since 1997, and while we'd enjoyed some success, we'd only won two of our first 10 and were no chance of making the finals," Hindmarsh told this week's Big League magazine.
"I'm not sure if he said it to me directly or whether I heard it second-hand, but Smithy admitted the 10-year tenure without a premiership was too long for one person at the club and knew it was time to move on.
"Unlike the rumours about Griffin, I don't believe Brian ever lost the changing room. There were obviously some players who disagreed with some of the ways he did things, but he never lost the shed.
"As much as some guys didn't enjoy some of his tactics, they respected him as a coach. It was quite a surprise that he went, because I enjoyed being coached by Smithy and it was a sad moment to see him go."
While on 2006, Hindmarsh recalled the ''strange" feeling of being coached by Jason Taylor five years after having called him a teammate.
"I thought it was a bit strange that Jason Taylor took over, because I'd played with him a couple of years earlier at the Eels," he said.
"It was a bit weird to then have him coach me, but it was time. A few of us had only known one coach, and as disappointed as we were to see Smithy go, we knew we needed the change.
"But you need to remember that when they made the coaching change, we weren't in contention for the finals.
"It's a different story for the Panthers. They're in contention for the top four and now they suddenly decide to get rid of the coach. To say Griffin lost the dressing shed when they're basically in the top four makes no sense."
Panthers caretaker Cameron Ciraldo ended his playing career in 2013 and his efforts in preparing and then coaching Penrith this week are sure to be closely watched.