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Last Updated: Friday, 1 June 2007, 22:39 GMT 23:39 UK
Jon Wilkin column
Jon Wilkin

By Jon Wilkin
St Helens back row

It was back to an eight o'clock kick-off for St Helens on Friday night after our midday start against Warrington on Bank Holiday Monday.

When we play can make quite a difference to my pre-match preparation.

Usually my game day entails a lazy morning, with me in a semi-conscious, Neanderthal-like state.

I sleepwalk to the cupboard, where the porridge oats are kept, before nodding off in front of the microwave. After a quick snack, I return to the darkened cave that I call my bedroom and rest until early afternoon.

Jon Wilkin celebrates his try against Warrington
The early start is worth it as Wilkin scores Saints' first try on Monday

I can assure everyone that the excess periods of slumber are very necessary for optimising performance. That's what I convince myself to ease the guilt anyway.

After resting for as long as possible, I get up and eat something high in carbohydrates. I enjoy a simple pasta dish or banana and jam sandwiches. Then the boredom really kicks.

Waiting for an evening game is very tedious for me and I often resort to throwing a ball against a wall.

Sometimes I ring my mum and pretend to be representing some obscure business that has been trying to track her down her.

After five years she still falls for it, so if you read this week's column, mum, expect a call from Edward Chicken asking if you'd like to invest in a poultry business in your area.

With such an early kick-off for the game against Warrington, there was no time for much joking around. There was no time to get bored either.

Rugby league, like anything in life, is subject to fads and trends.

Every now and again some new technology comes along that clubs and players embrace. Soon, everyone is using it.

One of my personal favourites was the 'breath easy' strip across the nose that claimed to improve your ability to take oxygen on board.

Whatever it did, it definitely looked ridiculous.

So did the oversized shoulder pads that players in the 80s seemed to love.

Paul Wellens
Paul Wellens might just be a style icon

They must have weighed a tonne but were a big confidence-booster because players looked as though they had a massive upper body!

They also came with a retro mullet wig and pencil moustache. (Well, I'm pretty sure that was the case anyway.)

It's easy to laugh but maybe the players of the future will be joking about the stuff we use nowadays, like the tights and lycra tops that either help us stay warm or keep us cold.

Maybe giant shoulder pads, mullet hairstyles and pencil moustaches will come back into fashion.

I am a big believer that trends go round in cycles, so if drainpipe jeans can make a resurgence, why not?

And if mullets do come back, we can all point to Paul Wellens and say he was ahead of the game!

My 'Poirot-style' tash is coming on a treat, too.

Q: What do you think of the referees this year now that they've gone full time? And can you tell us how a referee is selected for a certain game? The reason I ask is that St Helens always seem to get landed with Ashley Klein!
Elle McLean, Northumberland

A: I think referees do a very difficult job, Elle, and I know they are constantly scrutinised by players, coaches and fans.

Being full time should allow referees to view and review their own performances on a more professional basis, but it's early days. We might not see the benefits for a while, so patience is required.

As for how referees are allocated to matches, I haven't a clue and would be interested to find out.

Q: Could you tell me what the piece of classical music is that they used to play at Saints just before you came out at the start of the game?
Sarah, St Helens

A: I am not sure what it is, Sarah. A good friend downloaded it for me but I don't know what it's called, sorry. Perhaps someone reading this column could e-mail in with the answer.

I do know the club plays Kashmir by Led Zeppelin as we walk out. It's one of my favourite tracks of all time.

Q: I've sometimes seen you and a few of your team-mates out and about and I often wonder what would be the pros and cons of dating a rugby player? Are you guys worth pursuing?
Emily Fry, Liverpool

A: Pros: Good at pursuing and tackling thieves and intruders, etc.

Cons: Unsociable working hours; busy at the weekend all the time; little time for a good holiday due to long season and international fixtures.

For more cons please contact my ex-girlfriend, Emily. I am sure she can tell you in detail the shortcomings of being involved with a rugby player, ha ha!

Honestly, though, I think people are too often judged by their occupation and not who they are. Rugby is just a job you get good and bad people in every profession.

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