Hindmarsh almost switched to rugby union

NRL legend Nathan Hindmarsh has revealed he was “very close” to switching codes, claiming the New South Wales Waratahs offered him a tempting contract during his professional career.

Hindmarsh is comfortably the most capped Parramatta Eels player in their 74-year history, representing the Western Sydney-based club on 330 occasions during his 15-year NRL career.

The five-time Dally M second rower of the year also represented the Kangaroos in 23 Tests and played 17 State of Origin matches for the New South Wales Blues. He also holds the unfortunate record of most first-grade games without winning an NRL premiership.

Despite boasting a stellar career in rugby league, Hindmarsh revealed on Saturday he was one signature away from switching to rugby union and joining Super Rugby, with the Waratahs offering him a lucrative contract.

“Rugby union was close … very close, very close. My manager at the time was in deep with rugby union,” Hindmarsh told Fox League Live.

“It would have been a good contract.”

Nathan Hindmarsh scored 60 tries for the Parramatta Eels.Source:News Corp Australia

Although Hindmarsh was unsure what position the Waratahs thought he was suited for, the 40-year-old suspects he would have been placed at flanker or No. 8.

“I would’ve been doing some lifting (in lineouts) … I would have probably been more like your breakaway,” Hindmarsh said.

“I had one game of rugby for Moss Vale High School … I had the time of my life because you could stomp on them back then.”

Rugby union fans would lick their lips at the thought of Hindmarsh pairing with Phil Waugh in the Waratahs back row during the Super 12 golden era. Perhaps in an alternate universe, Hindmarsh would have guided the men in blue to their maiden Super Rugby title, something the Waratahs did not achieve until 2014.

The NSW Waratahs did not win a Super Rugby premiership until 2014.Source:News Limited

Fellow retired legend Matty Johns revealed he also received an offer to join the Waratahs and was similarly approached by the Sydney Roosters during his career.

“I went very close to going to the Roosters in 2001 – I went to Wigan instead,” Johns told Fox League Live.

“I got an offer to go the Waratahs as well, when they were offering to everyone in rugby league.”

The Waratahs evidently have a track record of trying to pinch rugby league’s biggest stars.

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