Three hours sleep. Dinner at 1:30am. And a trip from Auckland to Sydney that took almost 30 hours.
If you were imagining the worst possible pre-match preparation for a professional sports outfit, the recent episode endured by the Warriors' Women team would take some beating.
Due to circumstances beyond anyone's control — centred around a diverted flight — the Warriors had a severely compromised preparation to their NRLW opener against the Roosters last Saturday
That they prevailed, winning 10-4 against the pre-competition favourites, was a tribute to their resilience and mental strength.
"It was quite unbelievable, event after event," said team manager Liz Ah Kuoi. "It was like one of those black comedies, and we were in the middle of it all. But the players coped extremely well, they weren't going to let that derail them."
The Warriors left from Auckland for Sydney last Friday around 4pm, for the inaugural match of the NRLW.
As they approached the New South Wales capital, the pilot informed the passengers that an electrical storm meant they were unable to land.
They circled the terminal for almost an hour, before the flight was diverted to Brisbane.
There were more hold ups in the Queensland capital — as other flights were also re-directed – and a near hour long wait for their baggage.
Players did some stretching inside the terminal, before arriving at their hotel around 11pm.
By then, it was a battle to get some nutrition; the 18 players and the staff ordered room service, but there was a backlog with so many other transit travelers on the premises.
"A lot of the girls didn't eat until about 1am," said Ah Kuoi. "Some didn't get their dinner at all; they had fallen asleep before it arrived."
Lock Louisa Gago was awoken by room service at 12:45am.
"I was already asleep but then had to wake back up," said Gago. "We needed some food for energy."
Their alarms then went off at 4am, for their red eye flight to Sydney for the mid-afternoon match.
There was no breakfast available, so the players purchased what they could at the airport, though healthy options were limited.
The squad had to travel on two separate flights, which meant further delays in Sydney.
"We all have our own ways of preparing so this was a huge disruption, especially to our mental preparation," said Gago.
"We only got a few hours sleep. It was hard to not show what we were really feeling, because a lot of us were cranky or tired. There was lots of waiting around and our legs were really heavy from all the sitting down. But we knew we were there for one job, and we had to get it done."
They arrived at their Sydney hotel at 10:30am, around 28 hours after they were scheduled to be there.
There was breakfast and a team meeting, before some players squeezed in a 45-minute nap.
"Seeing the stadium across from our rooms gave us some energy back, some adrenalin," said Gago. "We were trying to motivate each other, [I] didn't hear the girls complain at all."
"They handled it really well," said Ah Kuoi. "It brought the girls closer together…losing a bit of sleep and food wasn't going to stop them."
The Warriors depart on Friday morning, ahead of their second NRLW match against the Dragons on Saturday (7:10pm NZT).
"They are not professionals…but they have professional attitudes to what they do," said coach Luisa Avaiki. "Travel is something we have always known we have to factor in. It won't be easy but it's not going an excuse for us either."