CRAMP is a problem that has plagued AFL players since the sport’s inception in 1858, but Orange Tigers star Matt Dippolito has a simple solution to alleviate the issue - beer.
Most players hydrate with water, or sports drinks, but as part of his strict pre-game routine the 23-year-old utility said he must partake in several schooners the night before a game.
Low and behold, it works.
“If I don’t have a few beers before each game I’ll be cramping by quarter-time,” he laughed.
“I’ve had plenty of problems with cramp, it might be the grounds here. I don’t know why, but it works.”
Since moving to Orange from Victorian AFL stronghold Sale last November, Dippolito has taken up residence in the Tigers’ midfield, the quickest centre field rotation in the Central West AFL competition.
However, he is set to line up in Orange’s lethal forward line in Saturday’s major-semi final against the Bathurst Bushrangers, and said his side was supremely confident of securing victory and, with it, a home grand final in two weeks’ time.
“We’re worrying about each game as it comes,” he said, rolling out the oldest sporting cliche in the book.
“The big picture is there, but we’re focused on this game and how we can win it.”
Dippolito highlighted speedy ball movement as crucial for his side today, and said the Tigers’ back line needed to continue its miserly ways to nullify the Bushrangers’ most potent asset - full-forward Tim Hunter.
Hunter tops the CWAFL goal-kicking list with 102, and has potted 29 more majors than second-placed Tigers skipper Tim Barry.
“We are mainly worrying about our footy, but we’ve spoken about him [Hunter],” Dippolito said.
“In our eyes, if they can’t get him the ball they won’t kick goals. We’ll have the best person for the job on him and our midfield will be working hard to make sure they can’t get clean ball to him.
“For us, moving the ball well into our forward line is important. We have guys like Tim Barry, the strongest mark in our league, Dale Hunter, who is just in the right spot all the time, Murray Robotham, who does some freakish things, and now Michel Rothnie playing forward.
“Our forward line has caused havoc for defences and will need to again [today], and hopefully we’ll get the chocolates.”
First bounce at Country Club Oval is at 2.30pm.