With champion rugby league player Nathan Hindmarsh pulling the pin on his wonderful career, it seemed appropriate to look back at a moment that sums up his career in one glorious action.
We’re less than 20 minutes into game one of the 2005 State of Origin series – one of the fiercest sporting rivalries on the planet and certainly an arena where there is nowhere to hide when things get tough.
Queensland are mounting another attack on the NSW half when Hindmarsh throws himself into another Maroons attacker, his tackle count marching into the 20s already.
But rather than jump back into the defensive line on this occasion, cameras catch the workaholic second rower pausing before he gets to his feet.
As the Blues trainer walks over, Hindmarsh waves him away before emptying the contents of his stomach onto the Sydney Football Stadium turf.
Has there ever been a moment that more perfectly encapsulates exactly what a player is about?
Hindmarsh made the decision to vomit in front of 52,484 people rather than suffer the indignity of putting his hand up and asking for a spell on the bench.
“You’ve got to keep telling your head that you’re not tired, it’s a mental thing,” Hindmarsh said at the time. “But I couldn’t get back into the line and I started throwing up.”
Hindmarsh would go on to record 30 tackles in the first half alone, but NSW were unable to cling on for a memorable victory – going down in golden point as the Maroons took a one-nil lead in the series.
But he would play in victories in games two and three, exhibiting the same remarkable work ethic that dragged him through 15 NRL seasons and mark him as one of the greatest ever Eels.
In his recently released biography, the veteran explained, “I don’t see what I did as a big deal. I made a lot of tackles, but I was only on the field for about 25 minutes and was genuinely disappointed that I didn’t last longer.”
Upon announcing his retirement, Hindmarsh remarked, “I am 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.”
He wouldn’t have it any other way.
And let’s not forget, another rugby league champion will retire at the end of this season, having earned the respect of his peers as well as the fans – Brisbane’s Petero Civoniceva.
Like the shaggy-haired Hindmarsh, Civoniceva forged his reputation for his relentless acts on the field.
But, unlike Parramatta’s favourite son, Civoniceva was able to finish his career with a premiership ring – two, in fact. And he never left his lunch on the SFS turf.