Greg Inglis is one of a kind.
The South Sydney star fullback and Powerade ambassador is arguably the best in the business and has reached almost every pinnacle rugby league has to offer. His bruising running style, breakneck speed and natural ability have struck fear into the hearts of opposition players for 10 seasons.
However, it is the hard work and attention to detail off the pitch on game day that has been the unspoken contributor to the 28-year-old’s success.
“There is a lot which goes into each match – you don’t just wake up and play,” Greg said.
“It is important to replicate our preparation process for each match. But with travel and playing at different grounds it can be a challenge.
“The club puts a big focus on preparation and recovery on game day. There is much more to it than putting on the jersey and playing a game of footy each week.”
As a member of the 2014 Telstra Premiership side, Greg said getting ready for a match is a balance between finding your focus, keeping hydrated and staying well rested.
“I always try and sleep in a bit later than normal on match days – if you wake up too early, you spend hours sitting around twiddling your thumbs waiting for the game to start,” he said.
“If kick-off is at 7.30pm we will have a one-hour captain’s run from 5pm to 6pm just to make sure everyone is switched on and up with the game plan. It’s a short and sharp session but it is very important.”
Part of Greg’s game day routine also includes hydration and plenty of it.
“Hydration is the key element to performing at your best. When you feel dehydrated you can feel your muscles start to cramp up which therefore has an effect on your performance. By drinking Powerade, you’re able to replenish those electrolytes lost during performance”
Eating right is equally important for Greg so that he is fuelled for 80 minutes of action.
“Being a fullback, I do a lot of running so I like to eat a big meal a few hours before the match,” he said. “I’ll have a nap before the game and when I wake up, I will eat a light snack before I get on the bus to go to the game.
“When I get to the ground I will have a massage and get strapped up before I eat a light snack again and get into my playing kit.”
It doesn’t all end for Greg at the final whistle, with recovery just as important as pre-match preparation.
“I start my recovery as soon as we walk back into the sheds,” Greg said. “After the team meetings I get my strapping off, then have an ice bath and a bit of a stretch before we get back on the team bus.
“When we get back to the club or the hotel we have a quick bite to eat before jumping in the pool for 16 laps, then another ice bath and more of a stretch.”
With as many as 100,000 fans screaming from the stands, Greg said he has learned throughout his career how to stay focused on the challenge at hand.
“When I started my career I was only 19 so it was such a crazy experience to be running out in front of so many fans each week,” he said.
“These day I am more clinical with my approach. I know what I have to do and I make sure everything is right so that I can get the job done.
“Sometimes there could be something which grabs your attention, but your teammates are around you to help get your mind back on the game,” he said. “I can be a bit of a clown around the locker room so that takes a bit of the pressure off and can help mentally to make sure that I perform at my best from the opening kick-off.”