They may have lost their final game of the NRL, but that was far from the main story for Eels stalwarts Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt, as they were watched by the biggest regular season crowd in 43 years.
For Hindmarsh himself, in an ideal world, he would have liked to have finished his career with a win – but even the club legend knows that you cannot always get what you want.
“A bit sad to be honest with you, sad the way we finished,” Hindmarsh said of his last hurrah.
“I would have liked to have had a win, but that’s the way it happens.
“I’ve got some great memories, awesome crowd tonight.”
Whilst there were no tears from the four departing veterans in Hindmarsh, Burt, and Dragons stalwarts Ben Hornby and Dean Young – Hindmarsh knows that it is only a matter of time before it all sinks in.
“Probably about midday tomorrow I reckon, after a few quiet ones,” Hindmarsh said.
Even Burt knows that it will not register for a while that he has played his last NRL game.
“I’m sucking them (the tears) up.
“It’s one of those nights where I am just that happy and I can’t ask for anymore out of my career.”
Whilst the game was considered a nothing game as neither side could make the finals, Dragons stalwart Ben Hornby decided to focus on what the game meant as a whole, rather than one particular individual.
“We finished the year off really well, that last two weeks have been good,” he said.
For Young, who has been playing for years with crook knees that require injections every game day just to play – he is glad that his body will not have to suffer a battering every week.
“(I’m) relieved at the moment – if you watched me play tonight, I’ve had enough,” Young said.
“I’ve got nothing left to give.
“I’m glad it’s all over, it’ll probably hit me like a tonne of bricks in the next three days or couple of months.”
The match will be remembered not only as the game that saw NRL veterans and legends retire, but as the game where Nathan Hindmarsh kicked a penalty goal on the final siren – that sees him finish his career with a 100% goal-kicking record.
In true Hindmarsh fashion, he had no doubt that the kick would be good.
“Pretty standard really,” Hindmarsh joked of his first ever NRL goal.
“Can kick em, just never get the opportunities.”