The tasty secrets to Gordon's longevity
Veteran Gold Coast fullback Michael Gordon is known as ''the ultimate pro'' but he winces at the suggestion he is some kind of new age health nut.
The 34-year-old custodian's secrets to longevity are not what you might expect.
Gordon had a cracker of a game in last week's 32-20 win over Manly where he set up several tries, one with a thumping tackle on Akuila Uate that jolted the ball free. Throw in his six goals and all-round safe game and you understand why the Titans are not missing Jarryd Hayne.
Garth Brennan told NRL.com there were ''a few eyebrows raised about me signing a 34-year-old'' but he had no hesitation in bringing him to the Titans.
So how does Gordon stay forever young?
''I still have my splurges and I am a sucker for chocolate every night,'' he told NRL.com.
''I'm certainly not a health nut. If you go too strict all the time it is not enjoyable.
''After a game, I'll have a pizza and a couple of red wines for dinner, and I love a beer more than anyone, so it is all about finding the right balance.
''Most players these days are well aware of diet and the sports science behind things and it was after I had two season-ending injuries at Penrith where, while I didn't change anything, I realised how important it was to look after myself because coming back from those injuries is hard.
''In 2012 I broke my leg and since then I've kept myself in really good shape.''
The demands on a footballer's body in a pre-season are intense and instead of having breakfast, lunch and dinner Gordon tries to have six or seven meals a day.
While they are smaller portions Gordon explained they fine-tune his metabolism and get rid of the post-season body fat.
''A perfect day in pre-season would be a smoothie-type shake for breakfast, and I usually still do that on game day or any training day because it fills me up and I know I can do a big fitness session and keep energy in the body,'' he said.
''[After training] there are protein shakes available so I’ll have one of them. Lunch is generally rice, sweet potatoes, greens and a little bit of beef or chicken.
"Afternoon snack is a bit of fruit and yoghurt or a protein shake again, and say I make a big spaghetti bolognese for dinner I'll have a small portion at 5.30pm and another at 7.30pm so it is just about splitting the meals out over the day.''
Gordon's formula is if you are eating well 85 percent of the time the other 15 percent doesn't matter.
''Once you've done a full pre-season you are in pretty much tip-top condition so it is all about maintenance then,'' he said.
''Leading into the game it is all about hydration and the right carbohydrates and proteins … but I can't go to bed without having some chocolate or ice-cream. I've got the worst sweet tooth.''
And it was a sweet deal done in a seamless fashion that saw Gordon sign a two-year deal with the Titans.
In the wake of Jarryd Hayne's departure Brennan needed to find a suitable replacement.
The Titans coach was sitting next to the club's head of performance Hayden Knowles when the phone rang and it was Gordon on the other end.
''Garth and I were living in the same apartment when Michael rang Garth personally,'' Knowles said.
''When Garth got off the phone I said 'don't waste any time signing Michael because he's the ultimate pro who won't let you down'. I got to see it first hand at the Roosters with the way he applied himself to his preparation in all the little details.
''There are times when you have to pull Michael back, because he is a bit older, but he will almost fight you.''
Support runs are a major aspect of fullback play and when Knowles is out on the field as a trainer he jokes with Gordon that he is going for world records.
''I remind him that Linford Christie won the 100m at the Olympic Games at age 32,'' Knowles grinned.
Gordon believes his best at the Titans is yet to come.
''I'm getting used to the new spine, new teammates and new systems … we are still a work in progress but heading in the right direction,'' he said.
Gordon is back in the region where he played his junior football, living near the ocean and enjoying a surf when he can.
Last Sunday night after the win in Gladstone the team's hotel put on ribs and hot chips.
''I was smashing the hot chips,'' Gordon grinned.
''Sometimes after a game you just need to get some energy back in so I had some ribs, steak, hot chips and a couple of red wines. It was perfect.''
As he likes to say, it is all about finding that balance.