Warriors players resisted travelling two days before games even though it was the most successful way of dealing with a tough NRL travel schedule, a former coach has revealed.
A study into NRL travel distances has shown, unsurprisingly, that the Auckland-based club will be the most travelled in 2018, when they will clock up 20,000km more than the North Queensland Cowboys who come a distant second on the distance list.
The most staggering revelation in the study, conducted by the official NRL.com site, is that the Warriors will travel further in round one of the competition than the glamour Sydney Roosters will for the entire season.
But a former coach Matt Elliott — who has also coached Canberra and Penrith — indicated player resistance made the problem worse for the Warriors, the inference being that squad was not prepared to go the extra mile when it came to succeeding.
And the story claimed that there was a "big psychological difference" among the Warriors compared to the Melbourne Storm and Cowboys who "handled their travel commitments well, particularly in recent successful seasons".
Whereas the highly successful Cowboys and Storm embraced the early travel schedules as a way of bonding together and increasing their chances of success, the Warriors did not.
The Warriors 2013/14 coach Elliott said: "We did a fair bit of research into (travel management at the Warriors) and there's also an impact from not just the distance travelled but also the time.
"While the Warriors do the most distance they also do the most time because you've got that extra clearing of customs at both ends.
"What we did find is that the success rates were far higher when we travelled two days out from the game.
"But there was obvious and understandable resistance from the playing group because when you add that up it's a lot more time away from home and out of familiar environments but the reality of it is they are far more effective travelling two days out from a game.
"If you look at North Queensland, if you did take the opportunity to travel two days out, you have a lot more focused time and the opportunity to work on building relationships and team spirit. You've got to mix the good and the bad.
"It's all about management of that time and planning it to each facility. The thing Melbourne and obviously the Cowboys do really well is they have a good solid routine around it and they don't look at it as a burden, they look at it as a blessing (and think) 'this is an opportunity for us to get players together'."
The Storm and Cowboys have proved that being based out of Sydney can be turned into a winning formula. The Storm are the NRL's top club and current champions, while the Cowboys — whose injury ravaged squad lost the 2017 grand final — won three years ago and are now Melbourne's main challengers.
In stark contrast, the Warriors have been a consistent disaster repeatedly failing to even make the top eight playoffs despite being set up in the 1990s with promises they would emulate the Brisbane Broncos' success at that time.
The Warriors open their 2018 campaign on March 10 against the Rabbitohs in Perth, a round trip of 10,700km. NRL.com calculated that the Roosters will travel less than 10,500 in the entire season, whereas the Warriors will nudge 60,000km.
Nine of the 16 clubs will travel less than 15,000km during the year according to the formula used.
That NRL.com formula used direct distance between each club's training base and the match venue and while there will be anomalies in any such calculation, it does create an accurate impression of the vastly different travel situations faced by teams.
Contemplating his first Warriors match, Kiwis back Gerard Beale said: "I think we'll be coming over early in the week and spend the full week in Perth to give ourselves that extra time to adjust with the time difference.
"Once we play the game we might well be leaving straight away on the red-eye flight, I don't think it's really going to worry us at all actually."
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