Roosters' smooth climb to the top
Considering some Melbourne players had to circle the globe on their way to claiming world champion status, the Roosters' task of dominating the world is comparatively easy.
We kid you not: in a six-week window that engulfed the Indigenous All Stars game, the World Club Challenge and a visit to Townsville, Storm skipper Cameron Smith and team-mate Justin O'Neill nursed a delightful 41,000km itinerary – also the circumference of the planet you're living on – all before their grand final rematch in Round 3.
In comparison, current NRL premiers Sydney Roosters only have to make the 5km trek from Bondi beach to Allianz Stadium when they welcome Super League champs Wigan to our shores in February.
The Tricolours do have the hurdle of a weekend away in Auckland for the Nines preceding the annual fixture, but that is evened out by Wigan's presence there too – they'll warm up for the WCC against their former hero Sam Tomkins' new Warriors team.
And that's the Sydneysiders' other advantage: while the hosts will enjoy the marketable Sonny Bill Williams for another 12 months, Wigan are now without arguably the best player in the northern hemisphere last season.
And that's all before you take into account the climate, which Storm forward Ryan Hinchcliffe not surprisingly nominates as the toughest issue to tackle in England.
The Storm veteran was part of the side that defeated Leeds 18-14 at Elland Road earlier this year.
"Obviously not having to travel over there will be a little bit of an advantage [for the Roosters]. You don't have to do preparation regarding travel," Hinchcliffe told NRL.com.
"And also playing in our conditions, it won't be quite as muddy, cold and wet as it is over there. I wouldn't say it's going to be easier, but it'll be different than travelling over there and playing in their conditions that's for sure."
And lastly, there's the history. Not only have Australian NRL champions won four of their past five games against their English counterparts, but none have been played in the southern hemisphere since the concept was resurrected in 2000.
Prior to that, only two one-off games were played in Australia, in 1976 and 1994, which were split one apiece.
As is the case every year, Wigan will arrive having just kicked off their Super League season, while the Challenge will be the final pre-season game for the Roosters before the NRL season begins in March.
And to that end, Hinchcliffe offers his advice: "It's a little bit different for us because we had to travel over to England but we really embraced the challenge of it," Hinchcliffe said.
"It was a great opportunity for us to play against a great team in Leeds who have won the Super League numerous times and we just saw it as a real chance for us to have a really good start to the year.
"You can go over there and have a really good win, you come out of that with a lot of confidence and it can spearhead you into the competition. My advice would be to just enjoy it and embrace it for everything it's worth because when you win that game it's a great feeling.
"I know the two WCCs that I've played in have just been brilliant to play in, and winning them both has been even better. Just embrace it and enjoy it."