Have you ever wondered what goes on in the changing rooms before and after a hockey match. Is it all laid-back, with the players listening to chillin' tunes, Bolt-style or do the testosterone levels reach new macho heights aka a rugby union warm up, with players shouting, stamping and punching each other.
Well, according to the Kookaburras' Simon Orchard, there is a distinctly more individual style of preparation in the Australian hockey players' dressing room.
"In terms of pre-match ritual there are some odd ones. Chris Ciriello unloads a full tub of Denca Rub on nearly every muscle in his body before each match, which makes the entire changing room smell like a veterans hockey tournament. Liam De Young has to watch the movie SpaceJam before every match he plays and Matthew Butturini kisses Glenn Turner's bald head before he takes to the pitch.
When it comes to superstitions, there is no-one to equal the obsessive tendencies of tennis star Rafa Nadal. Or is there?
"Well, you might notice that Jason Wilson never touches the sideline with his feet, he thinks it is bad luck. Matthew Swann wears his yellow headband in nearly every match and even when there is no sun, you'll see Jake Whetton wearing zinc on his face," says Simon. "But one superstition that is not so obvious is that of Matt Gohdes." Orchard was reluctant to give up his team-mate's secret, but eventually he revealed that the Queenslander always goes commando on the hockey pitch.
When it comes to bad habits in the dressing room, the Australian's are quite a well-behaved bunch, although Simon did say that Kieran Govers is always texting. Probably best not to let coach Ric Charlesworth know but, as Simon reveals, "He's always texting, before, after and sometimes during the match!"
And then there is that well-manicured look as the players leave the stadium. Again Simon is not slow to name and shame those who seem to have sponsorship deals with hair products. "Well, Rob Hammond has the most extensive hair-care ritual, but then you have guys like Nick Budgeon and Glenn Simpson. They always make sure their hair is perfect. They get very upset if the hotel doesn't have a comb and hair dryer handy to style their hair pre-game. Also, I'm not totally sure yet but I think Aran Zalewski dyes his hair blonde before each tournament to cover up the red locks."
And it's not just the team who take an interest in these things. "On the last few tours our team doctor has been judging each player on their fashion sense. During the recent World League event in India he awarded the best dressed title to Tim Deavin who has been working on his look after recently becoming single again."
But when it comes to post-tournament party animals, Simon is unequivocal: "George Bazeley and Russell Ford, they know how to have a good time."
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