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Warrington Wolves playmaker reveals odd pre-match routine ahead of Grand Final clash with Wigan Warriors
EVEN Stefan Ratchford admits that his pre-match ritual is strange, but he has no plans to change it before the biggest game of the season.
His string of odd routines and customs has built gradually from his time at Salford, and Wolves’ success over the last few years has done nothing to dampen his pre-match eccentricities.
“I don’t know where my weird ritual has come from, I must have done it one day at Salford and stuck to it,” he said.
“From getting up the same time on game day, eating the same meals, putting my boots on at a certain time, tying my laces at a certain time, chew chewing gum for warm-up, always having a red bull, all of it.
“I get someone to get the chewing gum out of my bag for me and that comes from the physio Christine at Salford, who always used to bring the chewing gum for us.
“Even now Chris Riley goes into my bag for me on game day.
“I think it has started to affect him as well, because I always have it at the same time, about five minutes before.
“He is always like, ‘what time do you want it?’ and that is part of his pre-match routine, so I don’t want to change that now!”
Paul Wood’s well-publicised OCD and pre-match routine may be an extreme case, but according to Ratchford there are plenty of odd goings on in Wolves’ dressing room during the build-up to a match.
“It is quite bizarre in the changing rooms before a game,” he said.
“Woody is getting better, but there are quite a few with their own routines.
“Some just turn up, throw their kit on and play, but as we have done pretty well so far I don’t think anyone is planning to make any changes this week!”
One obvious change Wolves will be looking to make from last year’s Grand Final clash is the result, with Ratchford hoping to replace his loser’s medal with a Super League ring.
“Hopefully we’re a bit wiser this year,” he said.
“I have not looked at my loser’s medal since the day itself, in the dressing room after the game.
“It would be nice to add a Super League ring to that cup winner’s medal, though I don’t think I’d wear it.
“I might sit in my house on my own and wear it.
“Maybe I could go out on a night out around Wigan with it, though I might not get home in one piece!
“It is something we are all aiming to do, the chance to put things right within 12 months is a massive achievement for the club and I hope we can take it.”
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