Former Wigan hooker Mark Riddell has admitted to an Australian radio station that he lied about his age so he could play at the top level for a longer period.
Riddell, who spent two years at the DW Stadium and won the 2010 Super League Grand Final, played first grade for 11 years and amassed an impressive 667 points.
In the chat on Macquarie Sports Radio, the former Dragons, Eels and Roosters no.9 revealed that he took a year off his age for almost his entire rugby league career.
This was to allow him to negotiate better and longer contract deals, something ‘Piggy’ says all players do because nobody ever checks ID or birth certificates.
“I’m actually born 9th of December 1980 but I changed it years ago so I could get an extra year out of my career,” Riddell revealed.
“That’s what we all do, all the footy boys, once we get into the NRL, we all change our birth dates so we can get extra years on our contracts.”
The conversation arose after Riddell was used for a ‘who am I’ quiz and hilariously his incorrect birth date of December 1981 was used as a clue, one year after his actual date of birth.
He added: “All those footy cards where you see players birth dates and be like, ‘please, as if that’s his age, he’s put that one back a few years!’
“At the start of each year or so, you have to fill in your details and everything, so the sooner you did it, the better.
“I retired when I was 31 so I didn’t milk it too much but some of the boys out there that I actually played with as a kid, I’d see their birth date and say ‘Oh please – you’re 28?! We’re 31, what’s doing?’
“They’d say ‘shhhh, I’ve gotta get the contract up, gotta renew the contract.”