Whitehead's epic journey won't slow him down against Broncos
He's flown 28,417 kilometres in eight days and played a Test at altitude, but Elliott Whitehead is ready to rack up a few more metres on Suncorp Stadium in Canberra's season-defining clash with Brisbane on Saturday.
Despite travelling around the world for a game in a non-traditional market for rugby league, the English forward said the punishing travel schedule was worth it to continue to grow the game.
"It's been good, I love getting together with the England squad we had a good week of it together and definitely need something like that mid-season," Whitehead said.
"The Australian boys have Origin to catch up but for us to do it as an international team we need games like that in Denver.
"I feel good, I'm waking up a little bit in the night but otherwise I feel good.
"All of the medical staff with England did a good job and followed procedures and we had them travel with us on the plane when we flew home, so everything (for recovery) got put into place."
Whitehead continued his try-scoring feats in 2018, bagging a double as England romped home to a 36-18 victory over New Zealand in front of 19,320 spectators at Mile High Stadium, the home of the Denver Broncos.
Despite the fears of the players' health and safety of contesting the match at altitude, Whitehead said the interest in the historic clash from ex-pats and curious Americans mean it was worth the effort.
"You could feel it [the altitude] but having the breaks were a good idea, but everybody finished the game well and there have been no [physical] consequences since," he said.
"Hopefully the NRL can see the potential and back it a little bit more next year.
"Down 16th Street there were banners up on lamp posts, every time people saw us they stopped us to talk to us about the game and said they can't wait to come and watch.
"We weren't going to fill the stadium but it's a process and hopefully we can get bigger crowd near and then leading into the 2025 World Cup over there."
Whitehead's journey paled into comparison to Canberra teammate Joe Tapine, who arrived in the Raiders' mini-camp early Wednesday after the New Zealand flights were delayed from departing America.
It is hardly the ideal preparation for a clash against Brisbane with so much on the line for the Green Machine.
"We probably do need to win this game if we don't then we're six points behind and it's going to be tough from there," Whitehead said.
"So, we need to win so we can bring the margin a little bit closer but there's still a lot of work to do after that, but we can't get too caught up in looking ahead in what we need to do for the next 10 games."
Canberra have received a boost heading into the clash, with halfback Aidan Sezer re-signing for another two years.
"When Aidan's on he's a real key for us and I think we have lost some big names already from this team and if we lost him as well it would be another big loss," Whitehead said.
"So, to keep him for another two years it's a good buy for the club and it shows the confidence we have in him."