At the age of 32, Nathan Hindmarsh is always asked, ‘Are you going to retire, when are you going to retire, how is the body feeling?’ Questions like these, is what prompts Hindmarsh to answer with the same question every time.
“All I want to be is a competitive player, and when I stop being competitive, that’s when I’ll give it away,” Hindmarsh said.
With so many approaching Hindmarsh of late wishing him well upon retirement, the reality of the situation, is that Hindmarsh has made no decision on his future yet, but there are several factors to consider.
With Hindmarsh’s wife Bonnie leaving the decision up to the man himself, the suspected increase in the salary cap will also not be a factor for Hindmarsh, as playing NRL has never been about money – and although he is in sight of Darren Lockyer’s 355- game record, he says that that too, is not a motivating factor.
“I want to make sure I don’t go too long and make a dick of myself. I’d like to finish being a competitive player, not back playing with Wentworthville (in the NSW Cup). I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but you really want to be playing first grade in your final year.
“The pre-season has been fine. I think I’m used to the hard training here we have under Steve (Kearney), and if it was harder than last year, I could have thought, ‘geez, this could be my last year’. But it is easier getting through the pre-season, it’s picking yourself up week after week after games. Until I see how I go there, I won’t make a decision.”
What works in the Eels favour should Hindmarsh choose to stay on, is that his contract will be exempt from the salary cap itself, due to the long-serving player concession.
Despite all the retirement talk, you only have to look at the All-Stars game to see how popular Hindmarsh remains not only amongst Eels fans, but with the entire NRL – with Hindmarsh being named in the All-Stars squad.
“You also have to think about the younger blokes chomping at your heels who are faster, stronger and more explosive. There’s still some life left in these legs. We’ve also got some good young talent coming through the club and blokes fighting it out for positions.”