They were bruised and bleary eyed when they touched down on home soil yesterday morning but the toil of their Samoan tour was worth it for Wanganui's Heartland 15 representatives.
The six members of the team and manager Chris Back finished their 2012 season on a high after the Heartland team came from behind at halftime to beat Samoa A 17-13 in stifling conditions at Apia Park on Saturday.
Heartland turned a 10-3 disadvantage around with an early try to No8 Darren Munro, then took control with another seven-pointer against the wilting locals.
After a red-eye flight to Auckland and then a transfer to arrive home at 9am yesterday, captain Peter Rowe looked like a decent rest was first on the agenda.
He said his side had climbed into their game plan by the third quarter against the tough Samoans, who were then put off and faded from contention.
"They were pretty physical in the first part of the game. They sort of dropped off towards the end.
"Still a few mistakes but the boys ... they were committed for the whole 80 minutes and defended well, which was good considering the heat."
First-five Mark Davis converted both tries and was also able to land a penalty.
Once again the Wanganui contingent had fulfilled their part Munro and reserve Fraser Hammond had played well in the loose forwards said Team manager Chris Back.
Given the warm conditions, big prop Shaun McDonough showed his stamina by getting through around 70 minutes of work up front against the Islanders. "They were all worthy selections, on and off the field," Back said.
While the expected big crowd disappointedly stayed away, amongst the few hundred fans there was a strong Kiwi contingent, many of whom had been staying in the same hotel as the Heartland team.
Rowe said it had not really sunk in that he could now kick back into his summer the top Wanganui players having been through a heavy representative season starting with the August 4 Ranfurly Shield challenge against Taranaki.