No Rest for WCC Squad
Monday 11 February 2013 12:37 PM
Any player who dares sleep before he's allowed can expect a rude awakening when Melbourne Storm flies to London today.
There will be a designated "pest" to rouse napping players, just one part of the club's meticulous preparation for the World Club Challenge clash with Leeds.
Watches will be set to London time as soon as players and officials take their business class seats.
The details were revealed in a briefing to players on Saturday.
Hydration, nutrition and sleep habits were addressed, and the players also got their winter gear six weeks early to deal with the frigid English weather.
"We didn't give them a list of what to pack, we just gave them their big jackets and beanies now instead of in March," Storm football manager Frank Ponissi said yesterday.
"And they got spoken to about hydration, going to sleep later on Sunday, just a bit. And our nutritionist spoke to them about what food to eat pre-flight, and on the flight.
"We've asked for extra water, too, and told the players to drink as little caffeine as possible and alcohol is an absolute no-no."
When Storm flew to London in 2010, it was the job of Jeff Lima to patrol the aisles, which the jovial prop did happily.
This time, with Lima gone, veteran Brett Finch, hard to silence at the best of times, could be in charge.
"During the flight they have a routine of when to sleep, or at least a recommendation," Ponissi said.
"It's very hard to tell people when to fall asleep but we want to adjust to the UK time zone as quick as we can."
A stretching session will be held during a Singapore stopover, and a pool was being sought for a swim.
"And when we land there will be a full recovery session with massage," Ponissi said.
"The idea is to keep them up for the full day, too, which is hard because we arrive at 5am. But we can't afford to have them dropping off in the afternoon. There's too much to get done."
Critics have questioned the validity of the game, and its timing, given it comes during the UK Super League season but well before the NRL has begun.
Ponissi said the club would not put so much planning into a trip it wasn't determined to conquer.
"We want to give ourselves the best possible chance of winning by getting there early, doing the right things before, during and after," he said.
"And we also have to make sure we are in the right condition when we come back for the start of the season 10 days later.
"The other thing is we want the players to enjoy it. It's a great opportunity for them to go away on a big trip, play overseas in different conditions."
"It's like anything; the more you enjoy it the more you are going to get out of it. And we'd enjoy it more if we won."
Read the full story on dailytelegraph.com.au here