In a daily blog for NRL.com, Dragons NRLW captain Kezie Apps talks about what she gets up to in the five days leading into her side's clash against the Roosters at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.
Nutrition and training kept her busy on days one and two before Apps enjoyed some much-need rest and recovery but now it's time to get serious.
Day 5 Sunday - What is your game-day routine?
Game day has arrived and for me it's business as usual in terms of nutrition and overall routine.
Being a game played more than an hour away we're all getting on the bus to the ground from Kogarah. Most of the time we all drive ourselves, particularly during club games and training.
We're so different to what the men do. We don't have big games every week so we tend to make our own way to venues. For club footy I'm heaps more chilled.
I would generally start my day with a coffee and have my eggs on toast.
I would waste some time, clean the house and do the washing. I do that to take my mind off things.
Travelling to the game I always listen to old school RnB, no matter what comes on. I don't have a specific song but just shuffle the playlist and I'm set.
Arriving at the ground I like to walk out on to the field and have a look around, maybe greet some young kids who have come to watch us play.
Then it's time to go inside and prepare for the game, get strapped up, which for me can be a lot of strapping, and then take part in warm-up.
After the game is all said and done I'll get checked by the physio and have an ice bath. Some players hate them but I enjoy them.
We're virtually on the road home after that. I don't go out much after the games, especially if I'm still thinking about the result. The best form of recovery is also sleep.
I hope you enjoyed a little insight into my life over the past five days and hopefully see you at the 2019 NRLW grand final!
Day 4 Saturday - What's in your sports bag?
We just finished up our final training session of the week ahead of the big game tomorrow afternoon and again I encourage you all to get out there and support such a history-making day.
I thought it would be interesting to fill you in on what I have in my sports bag going to training sessions and games as everyone is different here.
Some teammates past and present carry with them some unique things like teddy bears and bibles.
I'm always each to their own but am very plain jane on this one… I don't even carry perfume or deodorant! Is that gross? Surely girls don't sweat…
Anyway, here are my main items I carry in my bag:
- A towel
- My pain away/heat cream for any muscle soreness post-game
- Shoulder pads
- Sternum guard
- Spare socks, shorts and undies
Most are self-explanatory and everything else I add would only be a one-off. We get our jerseys given to us nice and clean when we're at the ground and they take them off us once the game is finished.
I like extra protection around my upper body to help with contact so I am always wearing some shoulder pads and a sternum guard.
The physicality of the women's game is growing and I'm expecting a massive battle in the forward pack tomorrow.
See you then,
Dragons looking to build on winning momentum
Day 3 Friday – What's your day off look like?
I'm currently enjoying a rare day off in Wollongong so I thought I would share some of the things I get up to!
Can I just say this doesn't happen too often so when it does sometimes I'm even like, "what do I do?"
It might sound boring but I just like to relax at home. Again, I don't have too many days off. I don't even have my pets with me, they're down in Bega where I'm originally from so I can't even take them for a walk.
I might put a bit of Netflix on or try and catch up on a show like Home and Away when I get a chance to watch it.
I'm actually a sucker for romantic movies on Netflix, the lovey dovey one's where no one dies at the end and everyone lives happily ever after.
Other than that, I will tidy up the house a little bit or head down to the local shops in Wollongong and try not to spend too much money.
We have our captain's run tomorrow so I'll begin to prepare for that tonight ahead of training during the day.
Day 2 - Thursday - Our training schedule
I allowed myself a bit of bacon with my eggs this morning as part of my daily nutrition plan. You can find that entry below.
Following on from our talk about nutrition I wanted to take you through our training schedule.
As you would already know, the women's NRLW teams are made up of part-time athletes who could be contracted for only eight weeks throughout the season.
Obviously, one day the goal is to become a full-time professional but for now we'll continue to strive and settle for what we have.
I work during the week as a community officer at the Dragons and am one of the fortunate players that can be a bit flexible around my work commitments and the club is very accommodating in anything I need to be at my best.
A lot of my other teammates don't have the same luxury and work their usual 9-5 jobs before they train while others could work night shift.
They're behind-the-scenes commitments that a lot of people don't necessarily consider but that's part and parcel of being semi-professional for a short space of time.
Why the gym is Rikeya Horne's new 'happy place'
I worked all day Tuesday and Wednesday. I went to physiotherapy on Tuesday at 8am and then headed down to Sanctuary Point public school to talk to Year 6 kids about being the best model of themselves and we all set some goals together.
I had to rush back for training by 5pm where we got started on our preparations ahead of the clash against the Roosters.
On a full night's schedule, we start with a gym session that goes for about 30-40 minutes nice and sharp focusing a lot on upper body strength.
As the above video shows, Rikeya Horne is a weapon in the gym.
Next, we move to do some video on our past performance, which last week was a far better review than the week before.
Our coach Daniel Lacey will take us through a few things as a team and sometimes individually that we need to try and fix up. It's good if some of the girls speak up too.
Then we hit the training paddock, do a bit of warm-up with some fun drills, stretch and then get into a bit of attack and defensive plays.
We also can pair off or get into groups – forwards with the forwards – to work on our own individual games.
Personally, I love everything about training, hanging out with my friends, playing footy, learning and laughing at the same time.
We'll have a much lighter session this afternoon, possibly even just a field session, before a day off tomorrow and captain's run on Saturday.
Day 1 - Wednesday - Talking nutrition
Hi everyone, it's Kezie Apps here from the St George Illawarra Dragons.
I’m here for the next five days to give you all an insight into my life as a Holden Women's Premiership player.
We've just come back from our successful trip across to New Zealand and it was great to be able to put together a positive result against the Warriors.
We're now one step away from the NRLW grand final if we can put together another strong performance against the Roosters at Leichhardt on Sunday and I hope to see you there!
I wanted to give you a bit of insight on today's topic - nutrition.
What we put in our bodies at this time of the year is crucial leading into and during the NRLW season.
Generally, I follow the same routine with my diet now as I would out of season. A diet full of healthy nutritious foods helps me be at my best.
This morning I had some fried eggs (because I'm hopeless at poaching them) and it depends on how I train the day before whether I have a bit of bacon or not.
We didn't train much yesterday so it was a no-go for me. I had two eggs on a piece of rye bread with avocado.
I make sure to have a couple of snacks in between during the day with fruit, yoghurt, muesli and some nuts. Or some crackers with tuna and avocado if I manage to prepare it in the morning.
For lunch, it varies. I've been eating the 'My Muscle Chef meals', who sponsor our women's team, so we get them a bit cheaper. My personal favourite is the Parmesan crusted chicken with mash potato and peas.
It's not a big portion but eating smaller meals more frequently is the way to go.
I also get asked a lot how much water I consume per day, and again it depends if we're training or not but I try and drink at least two litres.
Sometimes it's hard at this time of the year when it's not as hot and if I don't have a water bottle with me then I struggle to reach my target.
After a game or hard training session I'll have a protein shake to help with my muscle recovery and if I'm feeling like a 'cheat' meal I'll get some Thai food like peanut chicken or if we go to the pub I'm a chicken schnitzel girl.
Match Highlights: Warriors v Dragons
Every other time I cook dinner it's usually just some red meat like steak and vegetables.
It's quick and easy and you don't have to think about it. Sometimes I even get my vegies already cut up, it's heaps lazy but it saves me for later.
OK guys, I’m off to training, but I’ll catch you tomorrow for the next update.