We all knew it was coming, it was simply a matter of when he was going to make that final decision – a decision that the entire NRL world was hinging on.
They will have to wait no longer, with arguably, the greatest player to have ever pulled on a blue and gold jersey in Nathan Hindmarsh, announcing that the 2012 NRL season will be his last season of NRL.
Hindmarsh released a video available on parraeels.com.au, and spoke with his laid-back and self-depreciating character, one that the entire NRL world is accustomed to seeing from him.
Although Eels coach Stephen Kearney knew of Hindmarsh’s plans to retire since last year, the coach let Hindmarsh mull over the decision, and giving the Eels legend the time and space he needed, to make it.
â€œ15 years at this legendary club. Itâ€™s hard to believe,â€ Hindmarsh said in his video.
â€œI made the decision late last year and informed the coach and people close to me that 2012 was going to be my last season.
â€œI know there has been a lot of speculation about my career of late and I thank the coach and club for giving me the time I needed to make this decision public.
â€œI was always going to announce it early on in the season, and ideally I would have liked to have done it coming off four wins. But thatâ€™s footy isnâ€™t it.
â€œThatâ€™s why Iâ€™m announcing my retirement now. I love this club itâ€™s been my life since I was 16. Iâ€™ve made lifelong friends, met my wife and watched my kidsâ€™ faces light up when I tell them they can come to work with dad.
â€œIâ€™m hoping that by announcing this, it will take some pressure off my coach, my team mates and the club, so we can get back to focusing on what really mattersâ€¦ winning games.
â€œI will retire as a one club player which I am very proud of. Iâ€™m going to finish my career the same way I started – utterly and deeply exhausted – knowing I have tried my best and left it all on the field.â€
Although he wasn’t involved in all of Hindmarsh’s years, Kearney has gotten to know the man well – having played against him, to now coaching him.
â€œHeâ€™s a guy who pretty much redefined how much work one human being can get through out there on the paddock.
â€œI donâ€™t know how many times Iâ€™ve seen replays of him chasing down wingers and fullbacks, making that last ditch effort thatâ€™s the difference between winning and losing matches.
â€œHeâ€™s all about heart and thatâ€™s why heâ€™s so respected by everyone who plays the game, as well as loved and admired by those who watch it.
â€œHeâ€™s always put the team and this Club first and they are huge shoes to fill.
â€œItâ€™s been a tough start to the season for us but the lads are focused on improving from here, and making sure Nathan finishes his playing career on a high note.â€
Bob Bentley, the Eels Chief Executive Officer, also had his say:
â€œWords probably canâ€™t describe what Nathan means to this Club and our supporters.
â€œWhen people think of the Eels, they think Nathan Hindmarsh.
â€œHeâ€™s given his heart and soul to this Club on and off the field for his entire career and built his success on sheer hard work and dedication.
â€œObviously it would have been terrific for Nathan to have had the chance to announce his retirement after a better start to the season for us, but weâ€™re confident the team can turn this around and make it a season to remember.
â€œWeâ€™re already preparing for one hell of a send-off at the end of the year.
â€œNathan is quite simply a living treasure of this rugby league club and we will be doing everything we can to give him the send-off he deserves.â€