Cameron McInnes, Cronulla’s resident ironman, commemorated his remarkable achievement of setting a new record for the most tackles in an NRL game by enjoying a strenuous stroll through Taronga Zoo, pushing a double pram uphill, on Sunday morning.
The Sharks‘ star was commended for his colossal effort of making a possible 81 tackles in their hard-fought 28-0 defeat to Penrith the preceding Saturday night. While some statisticians noted the tackle count to be as high as 84, the official tally on NRL‘s website remained fast at 81.
After his record-breaking performance, McInnes headed home to watch the Ashes and, succumbing to fatigue, slept at around 4:30am. In mere hours, by 6am, he was back on his feet, eager to fulfil a promise made to his children, Noa and Mia.
“I had committed to taking the kids to Taronga Zoo, so we showed up there promptly at 9:30am,” McInnes candidly divulged to this news outlet on Monday.
Navigating the zoo proved challenging since the sky safari, a carriage that transports visitors from the bottom to the top, was unavailable. Nevertheless, McInnes asserted, “Getting back on your feet and moving is the best thing to do post-game. Plus, the kids had a blast.”
The family contemplated visiting Sydney Zoo as its terrain is less demanding. Still, considering its proximity to Penrith region, they chose Taronga instead.
McInnes recalled encountering several Cronulla enthusiasts at the zoo and sharing pleasantries. “With an impending trip to Perth this weekend, the children will be home accompanying Mum [Rachel], who is in her third trimester. This day out was a cherished opportunity for some family time,” he fondly reflected.
It wasn’t until a Panthers player informed him post-game that McInnes became conscious of his record. Cronulla’s coach, Craig Fitzgibbon, lauded McInnes’ onslaught as “one hell of a knock” and, interestingly, opted not to bench him early as GPS data suggested plenty of energy reserves.
Although Cronulla players were given Monday off, heartily riding an exercise bike and rower at home kept McInnes busy. “I don’t consider tackles to be the toughest part of the game; these long 50-metre runs are far more demanding – I’d rather tackle than do what the wingers do,” he opined. He later added, “Despite hearing figures like 84, 81, or 78 tackles, I had no prior knowledge of the record. I take more pride in our team’s tenacity than this record.
While he conceded that the Penrith squad had dominated, he still insisted that the 28-0 scoreline didn’t fully capture their efforts. He concluded by admitting being more pleased with his team’s relentless turnout.
Despite ending up with a bloodied face, McInnes dismissed concern, stating his family favours his “rugged looks”. He also shared strong words defending Nicho Hynes, arguing the criticism he was subjected to post-Origin I concerning his form was unjustified.
Finally, he acknowledged the upcoming face-off with South Sydney, his former club, would not be a walkover. However, he firmly believed that when Cronulla operates at their peak, they have no equal within the NRL.