Everyone has asked the question at some point, "How do those blokes back up at the weekend after playing Origin on Wednesday night?";
Cronulla Sharks Luke Lewis has plenty of experience in this, so Inside Sport found out on his recovery both mental and physical.
"Generally we'll use one of our field sessions to run through or rehearse our game plan; what we're going to do as far as our yardage sets, attacking sets and defensive sets are concerned. We'll hone those skills against our Under-20s team in what's called an opposed session. Our soft-contact 'game' against the Holden Cup boys is probably 80 per cent defence-based, with the remainder focussing on our attack. We'll run through everything, making our mistakes there and then. Later on in the week we'll add the finishing touches in a captain's run. That way, come game time, everything is clear in our heads.";
Less is more
"After an Origin game on a Wednesday, I'd rather have played an NRL game on the following Friday night than, say, on the Sunday afternoon. Leading up to a Friday game you're still on a physical and emotional high from Origin. You're a little bit sore, but you seem to get through it. You know that if you play on a Friday night, you'll have the rest of the weekend off, which means a good 48-72-hour recovery to get your body right before you go back to training. If you play the Saturday or the Sunday after an Origin, it seems like everything is footy, footy, footy, footy, footy, in between, you know? If you play Origin, you invest a heap of energy into that whole week; you'll play the game - which is always a massive game - and then you come back to your club to prepare for a game that's still three or four days away. Sometimes you just need a mental break. I like to jump on my Harley, just go for a ride to clear my head. It's just you and the bike, mate, no one talking to you, no footy, really just concentrating on the road. I like to go clay target shooting, too, but I haven't had an opportunity to get out there much this year. I also like jumping into the ocean and going for a swim or a snorkel, little things like that.";
"I just basically eat everything in moderation. For example, over the off-season I might try and get my diet clean by eating well, and I'll feel like everything is going really well. But then, it seems that every time I eat super-clean and really worry about my diet, that's when I seem to get little injuries; crappy ones like a calf strain or something like that. Ever since I've been eating in moderation, just eating what I feel like eating, it feels like everything has just fallen into place. If I feel like a piece of chocolate with a cup of tea or a coffee, I'll have it. I don't stress too much about that stuff. I'll have a protein shake after weights or after a field session if it's there in our change rooms, but I'm not too big on supplements or things of that nature. I just get out there, train, eat; try and recover my body that way..then turn up on the weekend and play.";