Warriors pumped for Perth trip
The Warriors departed Auckland on Wednesday to embark on what is believed to be world club rugby league's longest road trip.
And they can't wait.
After seven-and-a-half hours on a plane the Warriors will have travelled over 5000 kilometres by the time they arrive in Perth, and will have little time to adjust to the four hour time difference.
But rather than dread what has for the last three seasons been an annual trip to Western Australia to take on the Rabbitohs, Warriors prop Jacob Lillyman said they were welcoming the opportunity.
"It's a bit of a challenge, obviously a long trip and a few hours on the plane," Lillyman said.
"But I think it's good, the last few years have been good trips although we haven’t come up with the result, it's been an opportunity to get away as a team and spend some time together.
"We have spoken about embracing the challenge and we are definitely looking to do that."
The time difference and travel factors mean the Warriors have drastically changed their preparations this week, heading over to Western Australia days before they would usually for an away game.
Almost all of their field work and analysis will be done away from Mt Smart Stadium, and having only played on Sunday last week the club was able to complete just one gym session at their home base.
Coach Andrew McFadden said the experience gained from trips to Perth over the last couple of years left him confident their build-up would be on the mark.
"We will still have a decent hit out over there, we are probably not training as much because of the short turnaround and the long trip," McFadden said.
"But that's all been periodised and planned by our [strength and conditioning] staff, and I'm pretty comfortable with where we are at.
"We have done that the last two trips to Perth, it takes a bit to get on the time zone over there and quite often we wake up pretty early in the morning, it just gives our players that extra day to get on the zone."
In their last two games at nib Stadium the Warriors have led at half-time, only to be run down in the final 40, fuelling thoughts that the long trip has a detrimental effect on players towards the back end of matches.
But Lillyman said that was no excuse, and that the 3.30pm local time kick off this year - as opposed to the 7.30pm start last year - would make a big difference to the energy levels.
"Last year it was difficult, I think kick-off was about 11pm New Zealand time and by the end of the game we were probably ready for bed," the Queensland representative said.
"There's no excuses, that was a game that we should have won, we played unreal for 60 minutes, probably some of our best footy all year, and we let it slip.
"That one is still fresh in our minds and we don't want to go through that again.
"It is [a good time for the trip], that bye came at a good time to let our representative Kiwis and stuff have a bit of time off. They have come back really fresh."
The Warriors will complete an opposed field session in Perth later this week, and have included Dominique Peyroux and rookie Ken Maumalo on an extended bench as injury cover.