Parker: It's got nothing to do with the gherkin
He may have embraced the recuperative powers of the massage table throughout the course of his 15-year NRL career but Broncos captain Corey Parker remains somewhat mystified by the latest innovation in sports science: the gherkin.
Parker will break Nathan Hindmarsh's record for most number of games played purely in the forwards when he leads the team out against the Rabbitohs on Friday night and has earned a reputation at Red Hill for being one of the most diligent players when it comes to preparation.
A jar of gherkins placed on a table on the sidelines grabbed the attention of the rugby league world on Thursday night during the Eels' win over the Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval but according to Parker the recuperative powers of pickle juice are not a new revelation.
"We've been using that for a while. It's just the juice, it's got nothing to do with the gherkin," Parker told Sky Sports Radio's Big Sports Breakfast on Monday.
"We put them in little containers and you don't actually see the big jar of pickles on the sideline, you just see a heap of little containers.
"Apparently there is some value in having pickle juice when you're starting to cramp but I've never been one to cramp so I've never really had a go.
"The only time I usually get stuck into the pickles is after the game sitting around having a beer."
From the use of hyperbaric chambers to injecting of calves blood, blood-energising chips and ice fluid treatment to full-body cryotherapy the NRL has witnessed many innovations in order to speed up recovery in recent years but Parker recalls the days when you dared not show any weakness.
Even the team-appointed physiotherapist was a person Parker eyed suspiciously when he made his first grade debut at 18 years of age for the Broncos back in 2001.
"I'd be very reluctant to go into physio rooms when I was younger because I was scared that if Wayne [Bennett, Broncos coach] saw me in the physio room that he wouldn't play me because I was injured," Parker said.
"Way back then you taught yourself to train and play through a bit of adversity and obviously professional sport has changed a lot now but certainly back then that was my mindset.
"Back in the younger days of my career I'd steer away from massages but now I can't get enough of them."