Collingwood’s ice man: The secret to Jack Crisp’s streak

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Once a week, Jack Crisp goes to a shop in Bentleigh, plunges up to his neck in a tank and has his body flash frozen.

For three minutes he stands there, liquid causing white smoke to billow out around his head as the temperature drops to minus 140 degrees. He’s more Jack Frost than Jack Crisp.

Jack Crisp takes extra steps to recover outside the club.Credit: Getty Images

He loves it, which is weird. It’s one of the key secrets behind his remarkable playing streak.

Every game for the last nine years that Collingwood has played, Crisp has played too. Preliminary final night will be his 207th consecutive game for Collingwood, the longest current streak in the AFL.

He’s been close to missing over the last nine years, but feels the extras he does outside the club have contributed to him playing through.

“I’ve been sore a few times over the years, I’ve had sore hips, sore backs, a couple of sore calves and feet been sore but I feel like I’ve ben managed really well with the medical team, just that back and forth conversation. And then I do what I can in my own time to get my body right,” Crisp said.

“The streak doesn’t come into my head at all when you are playing, but people ask me about it obviously. I reckon subconsciously that is a factor [keeping the streak going] as to why I do so much myself outside of the football time: cryotherapy, extra ice baths, myotherapy (massage).

“The cryotherapy is a liquid nitrogen tank. It is full freeze for three minutes – minus 140 degrees. I do that once a week. We have one here at the club which a few of the boys get into. I prefer to do it on my days off and so I go to one just down the road from home rather than come into the club.

“I have been doing it three or four years now. There’s different types of ones, the one I go to is kind of a cylinder and you stand there for three minutes and after a minute and a half you turn around. There’s other big ones, tank ones where you have to wear a mask and ear muffs.

“The one I’m in, you have to wear gloves and socks and slippers in there because you don’t want to freeze extremities,” he said. (In case you are wondering, jocks suffice.)

“It’s just intense cold for a short period of time. Sometimes I’m shivering, other times I’m not. But I enjoy it because I go from there into the sauna for 45 minutes which is nice, just a different type of recovery.”

His ability to keep fit to play is reflective of his reliability on the field, for which he has won the last two Copeland Trophies as Collingwood’s best and fairest. He is the player Craig McRae has also deployed variously around the ground where he needs run and dash.

Crisp is, with Steele Sidebottom and Pat Lipinski, one of the elite endurance runners in the team. Consequently, that trio comes off the ground less than others, and are relied upon to be the deep, end-to-end linking runners.

Crisp has this year played on-ball, wing, moved back to defence where he had his real breakout season, and has now moved back into the midfield. In an on-ball group that can be lacking for leg speed, Crisp adds speed and line-breaking.

When Crisp, Nick Daicos and Jordan De Goey are all rotating through the centre square, Collingwood does not look lacking in toe.

“We try and mix it up the longer runners, Paddy Lipinski and myself, sometimes ‘Sidey’ goes in there as well in the back half. You have to mix and match the midfield group a bit.”

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