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3 days ago - 6 Likes
Nathan Hindmarsh is back. He's back in form and back in representative football. Wait, something about that sentence doesn't seem quite right. When exactly was he ever out of form? It's been a few years since we last spotted 'Hindy' in a Kangaroos or Blues jersey, so logic suggests that he must have been struggling. Only a few months ago he couldn't crack it for a place in a preliminary 40-man State of Origin squad. It's difficult to imagine how shockingly, disgracefully, embarrassingly poor he must have been playing to be considered outside the best 40 players in the state. Then again, perhaps the remarkable turnaround that now sees him in Australia's 24-man group - and on the cusp of appearing in the first match against New Zealand - is a turnaround that has alarmingly little to do with the man himself. It's the same old Hindmarsh, the same old superhuman feats. It might just have a whole lot more to do with the whims and farcical theories of selectors. The selectors that blatantly ignored Hindmarsh until his team suddenly started winning a load of matches, yet still found space for Dave Shillington from the under-performing Raiders and Paul Gallen from the battling Sharks. The selectors that completely forgot about the superb Ben Creagh, but rushed the previously scrap-heaped Ryan Hoffman back into the fray after his triumph with the Storm. Since when did rep selections become less about how good you are and more about whether or not your team made the Grand Final? Neither Hindmarsh nor Hoffman were selected for the Blues this year. Not even for the Game 3 dead rubber. That's more than a slap in the face. It's an insult to Hindy's past deeds. It's an insult to his consistency and determination. It's an insult to his shaggy Beatles hair and worse, to his low-hanging shorts. The truth is that the Eels' inspirational back-rower was playing well throughout his exile. Only difference is his teammates have since caught up. And now so too have the Australian selectors. Which Hindmarsh had they been watching? Had they been watching? Maybe the monotony of his tackling and tireless worth ethic had been sending them to sleep. It's flimsy at best, but there must be some excuse. The final piece in the comeback puzzle will be next year's Origin series. Hindmarsh and Hoffman will be hoping for recalls. Being picked for the national side is of minimal assurance. Selections are a lucky dip; a month to month, sometimes match to match, proposition. Ask Brett White, Anthony Watmough, Trent Waterhouse, and Josh Morris. All four - along with Hindmarsh and Hoffman - are currently considered worthy of national jumpers despite failing to make the New South Wales side for Game One this year. Glenn Stewart took that train in the other direction. The future is anybody's guess. Just don't guess that it will make any sense.